Dear Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),

A BBC One program, "Parking Mad" has recently highlighted combined operations involving officers from the Metropolitan Police Service and bailiffs acting to collect parking debts.

In the program it appears quite clear, from both commentary by the narrator and comments made by the bailiffs, that the bailiffs are actively identifying vehicles using their own ANPR system and asking for them to be stopped.

As an example, at one point in the second episode, the bailiff explains to a driver that "you've been stopped today BECAUSE there's an outstanding parking ticket" At another point, one of the bailiffs is clearly heard to say "We've got a Golf" and the police are seen to move to stop that vehicle AFTER that statement.

The footage indicates clearly that stops are being made at the behest of the bailiffs, using their own ANPR system, rather than as a result of a police interest in the vehicle.

In response to a previous FOI request, SOPs for CO15 ANPR Teams working with Court Enforcement Officers / Bailiffs were provided.

Section 2.3 of those SOPs state that "Police officers must ensure that they are acting impartially and not be seen to be acting as civil debt recovery agents."

Section 2.4.6 of those SOPs clearly state that the operations are Police led and only MPS ANPR systems may be used to identify vehicles to stop.

Section 2.4.15 states that police will remain neutral while the CEO deals with a driver of interest to them, but will warm of a risk of arrest to prevent breach of The Peace if a driver asked to leave his vehicle by the CEO reufuses to do so.

Question (1):

On the face of it, stopping cars identified by the bailiff's ANPR system would appear to be a possible abuse of the powers of police to stop vehicles, and is certainly in contravention of the two sections of the SOPs quoted above.

Under what powers are these stops made, and how does the MPS justify those powers being extended to stops clearly made for the express purpose of a civilian third party?

Question (2):

R v Howell[1982] QB 416 defined a breach of the peace as occurring:

"whenever harm is actually done or is likely to be done to a person or in his presence to his property or a person is in fear of being so harmed through an assault, an affray, a riot, unlawful assembly or other disturbance."

So, there must be some threatened, or actual, violence for a breach of the peace to occur.

In light of that case law, how does the MPS justify warning a driver, who is sitting calmly and politely in his vehicle and showing no signs of potential violence, that he may be arrested for a breach of the peace?

Yours faithfully,

Joe Horner

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr Horner
 
Freedom of Information Request Reference No:  2014040002593
 
I write in connection with your request for information  which was
received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 24/04/2014.  I note
you seek access to the following information:
 
·       A BBC One program, "Parking Mad" has recently highlighted combined
operations involving officers from the Metropolitan Police Service and
bailiffs acting to collect parking debts.
 
In the program it appears quite clear, from both commentary by the
narrator and comments made by the bailiffs, that the bailiffs are actively
identifying vehicles using their own ANPR system and asking for them to be
stopped. 
 
As an example, at one point in the second episode, the bailiff explains to
a driver that "you've been stopped today BECAUSE there's an outstanding
parking ticket"  At another point, one of the bailiffs is clearly heard to
say "We've got a Golf" and the police are seen to move to stop that
vehicle AFTER that statement.
 
The footage indicates clearly that stops are being made at the behest of
the bailiffs, using their own ANPR system, rather than as a result of a
police interest in the vehicle.
 
In response to a previous FOI request, SOPs for CO15 ANPR Teams working
with Court Enforcement Officers / Bailiffs were provided.
 
Section 2.3 of those SOPs state that "Police officers must ensure that
they are acting impartially and not be seen to be acting as civil debt
recovery agents."
 
Section 2.4.6 of those SOPs clearly state that the operations are Police
led and only MPS ANPR systems may be used to identify vehicles to stop.
 
Section 2.4.15 states that police will remain neutral while the CEO deals
with a driver of interest to them, but will warm of a risk of arrest to
prevent breach of The Peace if a driver asked to leave his vehicle by the
CEO reufuses to do so.
 
Question (1):
On the face of it, stopping cars identified by the bailiff's ANPR system
would appear to be a possible abuse of the powers of police to stop
vehicles, and is certainly in contravention of the two sections of the
SOPs quoted above.
Under what powers are these stops made, and how does the MPS justify those
powers being extended to stops clearly made for the express purpose of a
civilian third party?
 
Question (2):
 
R v Howell[1982] QB 416 defined a breach of the peace  as occurring:
"whenever harm is actually done or is likely to be done to a person or in
his presence to his property or a person is in fear of being so harmed
through an assault, an affray, a riot, unlawful assembly or other
disturbance."
So, there must be some threatened, or actual, violence for a breach of the
peace to occur.
In light of that case law, how does the MPS justify warning a driver, who
is sitting calmly and politely in his vehicle and showing no signs of
potential violence, that he may be arrested for a breach of the peace?
 
EXTENT OF SEARCHES TO LOCATE INFORMATION
 
To locate the information relevant to your request searches were conducted
at The Roads and Transport Policing Command HQ.
 
RESULT OF SEARCHES
 
The searches located information relevant to your request.
 
DECISION
 
I have today decided to disclose the located information to you in full.
Question (1):
On the face of it, stopping cars identified by the bailiff's ANPR system
would appear to be a possible abuse of the powers of police to stop
vehicles, and is certainly in contravention of the two sections of the
SOPs quoted above.
Under what powers are these stops made, and how does the MPS justify those
powers being extended to stops clearly made for the express purpose of a
civilian third party?
 
A. Under Section 163 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 allows a constable in
uniform or a traffic officer to stop a mechanically propelled vehicle
being driven, or a cycle being ridden on a road.
 
The Road Traffic Act is avaialble in the public dopmain and can be found
at  [1]www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988
 
 
Question (2):
R v Howell[1982] QB 416 defined a breach of the peace  as occurring:
"whenever harm is actually done or is likely to be done to a person or in
his presence to his property or a person is in fear of being so harmed
through an assault, an affray, a riot, unlawful assembly or other
disturbance."
So, there must be some threatened, or actual, violence for a breach of the
peace to occur.
In light of that case law, how does the MPS justify warning a driver, who
is sitting calmly and politely in his vehicle and showing no signs of
potential violence, that he may be arrested for a breach of the peace?
 
A. Unfortunatley this is a rethorical question and cannot be answered as
it is not requesting information held by any MPS system.
 
COMPLAINT RIGHTS
 
Your attention is drawn to the attached sheet which details your right of
complaint.
 
Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please write
or contact Sue Reuter on telephone number 781184 quoting the reference
number above.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
 
 
Sue Reuter
Management Information Manager
In complying with their statutory duty under sections 1 and 11 of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 to release the enclosed information, the
Metropolitan Police Service will not breach the Copyright, Designs and
Patents Act 1988. However, the rights of the copyright owner of the
enclosed information will continue to be protected by law.  Applications
for the copyright owner's written permission to reproduce any part of the
attached information should be addressed to MPS Directorate of Legal
Services, 1st Floor (Victoria Block), New Scotland Yard, Victoria, London,
SW1H 0BG.
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Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the
decision is incorrect?
 
You have the right to require the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to
review their decision.
 
Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome to discuss the
response with the case officer who dealt with your request. 
 
Complaint
 
If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the
decision reviewed.
 
Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from
the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:
 
FOI Complaint
Public Access Office
PO Box 57192
London
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[email address]
 
In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your
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The Information Commissioner
 
After lodging a complaint with the MPS if you are still dissatisfied with
the decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for
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accordance with the requirements of the Act.
 
For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner
please visit their website at [2]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk. 
Alternatively, phone or write to:
 
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
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SK9 5AF
Phone:  01625 545 700
 
 
Sue Reuter | CO15  | TDHQ | HQ MIU Manager |CO15 Training SPOC
MetPhone 781184 | Telephone 020 7161 1184 | | Email
[email address]
Address 6^th Floor, Empress State Building, Lillie Road, Earls Court. SW6
1TR
 
 
 

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Dear Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),

Thank you for your prompt response to my recent FOI request.

Unfortunately, it appears that I was less clear than I believed when phrasing my second question, which you have misinterpreted as a rhetorical point. Please allow me to try and clarify the information I was seeking with that question:

What legislation (if any) or internal policy (if any) does the MPS rely on when setting an SOP for these operations which includes warning that a driver may be arrested for breach of the peace, even when no such breach (according to the accepted definition from case law) is happening, or likely to happen, at the instigation of the driver being warned?

Also, what legislation (if any) or internal policy (if any, and excluding the already disclosed SOP) would a constable be able to rely on if a complaint was subsequently made against them regarding threats of arrest for an offence that clearly wasn't being, nor was likely to be, committed?

Many thanks for your help, and sincere apologies for not being clearer in the first instance.

Yours faithfully,

Joe Horner

Gadawodd D. J. Gill anodiad ()

Hi, I am following your request with interest.

I have written a similar request regarding this issue: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/r... regarding the police appearing to "assist" the bailffs instead of being there to prevent breach of the peace.
Surely parking fines are a civil matter that cannot involve police.......

Anyway,as yet I have not received a reply, but hopefully it will be better than the lame response they gave to you.

Regards,
D.Gill

Gadawodd geoff kelly anodiad ()

I also have a similar request in to see if they are getting paid by whyte &co..

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/p...

Dear Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),

Following your initial reply, in which you had misunderstood the nature of one of my questions, I provided clarification but am still waiting for a response. I have not even received an acknowledgement of my clarification, let alone a full repl to my request for information.

As you're aware, the law states that requests must be responded to promptly and, in this case, a response (even if a simple acknowledgement and request for more time) should normally have been received by 2nd June 2014.

I now look forward to your reply at your earliest opportunity.

Yours faithfully,

Joe Horner

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr Horner.

As you are aware Breach of the Peace is a matter under common law and as
you state for arrest the R V Howell criteria should be applied. Any arrest
would be to prevent a 'further' Breach of the Peace occurring or to
prevent one starting. . Any warning given by an officer prior to any
Howell situation would be a pre-emptive measure. The avoidance of a
'Howell' scenario  in the first place by informing people of possible
consequences is preferable to having to deal with a Howell situation once
it has arisen.

As with most legislation/ common law there is no power to pre emptivley
inform a subject of the possible consequences of possible future scenario.
Any arrest would need to be justified by the offciers concerned.
 
 
 
Regards
 
Sue
 

Sue Reuter | Roads and Transport Policing Command | RTPC HQ  | HQ MIU
Manager |RTPC Training SPOC
MetPhone 781184 | Telephone 020 7161 1184 | [mobile number] | Email
[email address]
Address 6^th Floor, Empress State Building, Lillie Road, Earls Court. SW6
1TR

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Gadawodd Joe Horner anodiad ()

So, it would appear to be a fair summary that the SOPs for these operations include advising constables to put pressure on members of the public to comply with the bailiffs by "advising" that they may get arrested even when there's no power to do so.

Now that's been clarified, I'll leave it to others to decide whether or not that's appropriate policing :)

Gadawodd tracy sears anodiad ()

Dear All,

Here is some information you may use.

If you are stopped by police at the road side and bailiffs are lurking you need to follow this very simple procedure that you will not be told anywhere, despite the vulgar crap about being warned of Breach of Peace.

If you are stopped do not exit your vehicle there is no law that requires you to do so. Wind down your window and ask why you have been stopped, the answer will be of course "routine stop sir". The officer will walk away in order to pretend that he is making enquiries about your vehicle. That is the queue for a bailiff to approach you and question you, the mere presence of police gives a false impression that the bailiff has the authority to ask for your I.D, the bailiff has no such power what so ever. Please roll your window up and ignore him do not talk to him or look at him just pretend he is not there. The bailiff will be frustrated, so in a group of police officers hanging a round, one officer will be watching you and the bailiff, when the officer gets the signal he will approach your vehicle and pretend to want to help, roll down your window and say to the officer, have you finished your enquires, I want to leave. The bailiff will attempt to engage you in conversation but remember he is 'not there'. The officer may say this gentleman wants to ask you something, your response should be, I do not want to speak to anybody, you have stopped me so please deal with me, if I am not under arrest I wish to leave. The officer will have no option but to agree to your departure. Forget the warning of arrest, the Met just say that, no one has ever been arrested, any officer would need some justification, and the custody sergeant would be really pissed. Please note this advice does not apply to 'thieves, drug dealers,people of interest to police, or targets of investigation, people with no insurance licence or MOT, if any of the words after "thieves" apply then you would be subject to search by police and for intelligence gathering. Irrespective remember under the new Enforcement Bill which came into force in 2014 the bailiffs should carry the warrant he is enforcing and the warrant should have an address that they authorised to enforce at, so the bailiffs would technically need to ask the local borough council to request the address on the warrant to be changed having paid a court fee for all the cars they think they may come into contact with at that particular bailiff/police stop point, in other words your vehicle can not be seized from the High Road, Anytown, AN1, if the warrant at the time of the attempted seizure has another address or your home address, the warrant can only be executed at the address to which it is issued.

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