HC Deb 29 April 2004 vol 420 cc1317-8W
Andrew George

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what plans he has to regulate the(a) status, (b) prevalence and (c) activities of private security firms which wheel clamp licensed road vehicles on (i) public and (ii) private land; [167296]

(2) what timetable he has set to bring forward regulations in respect of private companies which wheel clamp licensed vehicles for enforcement purposes under the provisions of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. [167297]

Ms Blears

On current plans the Security Industry Authority (SIA) propose to commence the licensing of wheel dampers at the end of 2004. Details of the licensing criteria are currently being finalised and are likely to include an identity check, a criminal records check for relevant previous convictions, and a check on the applicant's professional competence to do the job.

The Private Security Industry Act 2001 also provides for the establishment of an approved contractor scheme by the SIA. The timetable for the introduction of the scheme is under consideration by the Authority.

The 2001 Act does not regulate wheel-clamping on public roads. Under the provisions of the Road Traffic Act 1991, local authorities may clamp vehicles that infringe parking regulations on public roads or in local authority off-street car parks. Only a parking attendant, as defined in section 63A of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, may authorise such vehicle clamping, although a private contractor may be used to place the clamp on the vehicle. Under sections 71 and 72 of the 1991 Act the owner of a vehicle may make representations to the relevant local authority and subsequently appeal to an independent parking adjudicator about the clamping of the vehicle.