Vosa "Traffic Enforcement"

Michael Jones made this Freedom of Information request to Vehicle and Operator Services Agency

The request was successful.

From: Michael Jones

16 September 2009

Dear Sir or Madam,

I recently saw an MPV type vehicle which was dressed up to
obviously resemble a police car,with high visibility yellow and
blue squares along the sides,a light bar on the roof and the words
"VOSA TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT" displayed on the rear of the vehicle.

What is the purpose of these vehicles?Do these vehicles have sirens
and blue flashing lights?Are they fitted with ANPR systems and
speed enforcement equipment?Do the operators of these vehicles have
authority to stop vehicles and detain people,the same authority as
Police officers?

Might the public reasonably believe that VOSA personnel are
actually impersonating Police officers?Is this not in actual fact a
criminal offence?

Do these vehicles target only commercial vehicles,such as lorries
and buses,or are they authorised to interfere with private vehicles
too,including cars,which are not being used for purposes of
commerce?

Do these VOSA personnel have authority to seize vehicles or prevent
them from being driven?Do they have authority to search vehicles?Do
they have authority to test vehicles for safety,and is this done
only with the consent of the owner of the vehicle?

Do these officers have the authority (and training) to engage in
high-speed pursuits of vehicles?Do they have the powers of
detention and arrest,such as that of a genuine Police officer?

Is it true that VOSA personnel only have "authority" over the
public with the public's given consent,and that without such
consent no authority actually exists?

Yours faithfully,

M.Jones

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Vehicle and Operator Services Agency

17 September 2009


Attachment M Jones F0002154 170909 ack.doc
452K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Jones,

Please find attached an acknowledgement of your recent request for
information.

(See attached file: M Jones F0002154 170909 ack.doc)

show quoted sections

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Michael Jones left an annotation (17 September 2009)

Quote-marks VOSA's Attachment:

Dear Mr Jones,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

I refer to your correspondence dated 16/09/09. We are dealing with this under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The Act gives a period of 20 working days for response by the public authority holding the information. This period may be extended where a `public interest test' determination needs to be sought. We will contact you again if it is necessary for a time extension to be made.

In some circumstances a fee may be payable and if that is the case, we will let you know the likely charges before proceeding.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact us, quoting reference F0002154.

Yours sincerely

Jonathan Morris

VOSA Information Access

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Vehicle and Operator Services Agency

23 September 2009


Attachment M Jones F0002154 230909.doc
460K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Jones

Please find VOSA's response to your recent request for information
attached.

(See attached file: M Jones F0002154 230909.doc)

Information Access Team

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Michael Jones left an annotation (23 September 2009)

Quote-marks Dear Mr Jones

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

I refer to your recent request for information concerning VOSA traffic enforcement vehicles. I have reproduced your questions within the body of the letter, and placed VOSA's reply next to them in red.

I recently saw an MPV type vehicle which was dressed up to obviously resemble a police car, with high visibility yellow and blue squares along the sides, a light bar on the roof and the words "VOSA TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT" displayed on the rear of the vehicle. The vehicles are not designed to resemble a police car but to be a 'high viz' enforement vehicle. The colours used are yellow and black, not yellow and blue.

1) What is the purpose of these vehicles? To stop vehicles for inspection under section 67 of the Road Traffic Act.

2) Do these vehicles have sirens and blue flashing lights? No

3) Are they fitted with ANPR systems and speed enforcement equipment? Most do have ANPR equipment. VOSA do not carry out speed enforcement however we do enforce speed restriction legislation.

4) Do the operators of these vehicles have authority to stop vehicles and detain people, the same authority as Police officers? The officers do have authority to stop vehicles, but not to detain people. They are accredited under the Community Safety Scheme.

5) Might the public reasonably believe that VOSA personnel are actually impersonating Police officers? Is this not in actual fact a criminal offence? The vehicles have VOSA livery on them, and our officers wear a Hi-Viz jacket with VOSA on the back in large letters. They are not attempting to impersonate police officers as they clearly display the VOSA branding. All carry warrant cards clearly informing who they are, who they work for and what their powers are.

6) Do these vehicles target only commercial vehicles, such as lorries and buses, or are they authorised to interfere with private vehicles too, including cars, which are not being used for purposes of commerce? Although our main activities do not involve targeting cars or motorbikes we do have the legal power to do so and when appropriate do stop these vehicles.

7) Do these VOSA personnel have authority to seize vehicles or prevent them from being driven? If the examiner issues a fixed penalty notice for certain offences and the driver does not comply with the legislation we do have the power to immobilise the vehicle to prevent it being driver further. If the situation is not resolved we do have the power to remove it. Additionally, we do impound HGVs which are being operated illegally outside of the Operators Licencing scheme and in October will have corresponding powers for the PSV scheme.

8) Do they have authority to search vehicles? No

9) Do they have authority to test vehicles for safety, and is this done only with the consent of the owner of the vehicle? The purpose of us stopping vehicles is for road safety reasons. The owner can ask for a deferred test of their vehicle.

10) Do these officers have the authority (and training) to engage in high-speed pursuits of vehicles? No, in situations where this may be necessary our police colleagues assist.

11) Do they have the powers of detention and arrest, such as that of a genuine Police officer? No

12) Is it true that VOSA personnel only have "authority" over the public with the public's given consent, and that without such consent no authority actually exists? No, VOSA officers are warranted and as such, it is an offence not to comply with our instructions.

VOSA Corporate Office,

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From: Michael Jones

24 September 2009

Dear VOSA,

I have a few questions about your response to my Freedom of
Information request,to seek clarification to some of your answers.

You claim (1) that the purpose of VOSA Traffic Enforcement Vehicles
is "to stop vehicles for inspection under section 67 of the Road
Traffic Act",but the act clearly states :(Sect 67(3)"A vehicle
shall not be required to stop for a test except by a constable in
uniform".
Surely a VOSA employee is not a constable?

You claim (2) that your vehicles have no sirens or blue flashing
lights - how would a vehicle without such equipment actually stop
moving traffic?

You claim (5) that VOSA personnel carry warrant cards clearly
informing what their powers are - please explain to me what powers
are listed on these cards,and who they work for.

You claim (12) that your officers are "warranted" - please explain
what this means.

Yours faithfully,

M Jones

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Vehicle and Operator Services Agency

29 September 2009


Attachment M Jones F0002154 290909 clarification.doc
454K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Jones

Please find attached further clarification as requested in your e-mail of
24th September 2009

(See attached file: M Jones F0002154 290909 clarification.doc)

VOSA Information Access Team

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Michael Jones left an annotation (29 September 2009)

Quote-marks I refer to your e-mail of 24th September 2009 in which you asked for clarification with regards to some points contained in my letter of 23rd September. As in my original response, I have reproduced your questions within the body of the letter, and placed VOSA's reply next to them in red.

You claim (1) that the purpose of VOSA Traffic Enforcement Vehicles is "to stop vehicles for inspection under section 67 of the Road Traffic Act", but the act clearly states: (Sect 67(3) "A vehicle shall not be required to stop for a test except by a constable in uniform". Surely a VOSA employee is not a constable? The Community Safety Scheme gives these examiners the same powers as a constable in uniform, by virtue of sections 40 and 41 of the Police Reform Act (2002)

You claim (2) that your vehicles have no sirens or blue flashing lights - how would a vehicle without such equipment actually stop moving traffic? The vehicles are clearly sign written and have roof bar matrix which give instruction. Additionally they have amber lights to draw attention to the vehicle.

You claim (5) that VOSA personnel carry warrant cards clearly informing what their powers are - please explain to me what powers are listed on these cards, and who they work for. The warrant card states that the Secretary of State for Transport appoints the holder to be an examiner for the purpose of carrying out the functions specified in Section 66(A) of the Road Traffic Act 1988. In pursuance of section 137 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 authorises the holder a) to exercise the power under subsection (1) and (2) of that section to require a person to whom a certificate has been issued or a licence granted to produce that certificate or licence, and to exercise the power under subsection (2) of that section to seize a certificate or licence and deliver it to the registrar.

Finally it authorises the holder a) to institute, conduce and appear in proceedings in a Magistrate's Court on his behalf and b) in pursuance of section 49 pf the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 and without prejudice to the generality of sub-paragraph (A) above, more particularly to conduct and appear in proceedings in a Magistrate's Court under Section 29, 35 or 37 of that Act on his behalf.

You claim (12) that your officers are "warranted" - please explain what this means. This means that they are authorised, by the Secretary of State for Transport to carry out the functions listed on their warrant cards.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact us, quoting reference F0002154.

Yours sincerely

VOSA Information Access

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From: Michael Jones

30 September 2009

Dear VOSA Information Access Team,

Your clarification is unclear and seems to contradict your previous
answer.

You say that the "powers" of VOSA staff are only those stated on
their warrant cards,yet from your 29th September answer it seems
that these powers when used at the roadside are extremely limited.

To further clarify,would it be correct to say that warrant card
carrying VOSA staff in Staffordshire have only the authority at the
roadside to "require motorists to produce a certificate or
licence,and to,if necessary,seize a certificate or licence?

Am I to take it then that if your staff wished to engage in any
other roadside activity above and beyond the checking of
certificates and licences,that this would be only with the consent
of the motorist,rather than a legal duty?

Yours faithfully,

M Jones

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Vehicle and Operator Services Agency

1 October 2009

There are a range of powers stated in our initial response. VOSA works
under various areas of legislation ie Construction & Use inspections,
vehicle weights, drivers hours, driving licences, Vehicle Exise duty etc.
I do not know understand what relevance there is to the Staffordshire
reference in your e-mail. All of our officers in each discipline (ie
Traffic Examiner, Vehicle Examiner etc have the same warrant throughout the
country and is valid anywhere in the country. relevance. He seems to just
be picking up on one line of the entire email.

Michael Jones
<request-18137-31
85d445@whatdothey To
know.com> [email address]
cc
30/09/2009 15:35
Subject
Re: Freedom of Information request
- Vosa "Traffic Enforcement"

Dear VOSA Information Access Team,

Your clarification is unclear and seems to contradict your previous answer.

You say that the "powers" of VOSA staff are only those stated on their
warrant cards,yet from your 29th September answer it seems that these
powers when used at the roadside are extremely limited.

To further clarify,would it be correct to say that warrant card carrying
VOSA staff in Staffordshire have only the authority at the roadside to
"require motorists to produce a certificate or licence,and to,if
necessary,seize a certificate or licence?

Am I to take it then that if your staff wished to engage in any other
roadside activity above and beyond the checking of certificates and
licences,that this would be only with the consent of the motorist,rather
than a legal duty?

Yours faithfully,

M Jones

show quoted sections

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From: Michael Jones

1 October 2009

Dear VOSA,

Thank you for your reply.

With respect,I mention Staffordshire,because I understand that each
poilce authority makes its own individual agreement under the
Community Safety Accreditation Scheme,and Staffordshire is where I
live - so no mystery there then.

As I mentioned before,your clarifications seem to contadict your
earlier statements,and overall,the information you provide is
fuddled and unclear.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Jones

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From: Michael Jones

2 October 2009

DeaR VOSA,

According to the data provided on the Home Office website it
appears that VOSA personnel have not been given any designated
powers by the Chief Officer of Police in Staffordshire - none at
all.

This information can be found here:

http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/publicat...

It appears that the information you have given out in response to
my FOI request is not consistent with the truth.This is potentially
a very serious matter.

Perhaps you have an explanation?

Yours faithfully,

M Jones

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Vehicle and Operator Services Agency

5 October 2009

Dear Mr Jones

I can assure you that we do have accreditations with Staffordshire police -
as well as others who are not shown on the list. I am afraid that the
Police/Home Office list is not accurate. I am unaware of whose
responsibility the list is within the police/home office but I will try and
find out. The responses we given are truthful.

I am not prepared to send full copies of our accreditations to you as they
contain the personal details of the Enforcement Support Officers (who hold
the accreditation) but if you would like to see 'edited' versions, these
may be made available.

Information Access Team

Michael Jones
<request-18137-31
85d445@whatdothey To
know.com> [email address]
cc
02/10/2009 12:10
Subject
Re: Freedom of Information request
- Vosa "Traffic Enforcement"

DeaR VOSA,

According to the data provided on the Home Office website it
appears that VOSA personnel have not been given any designated
powers by the Chief Officer of Police in Staffordshire - none at
all.

This information can be found here:

http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/publicat...

It appears that the information you have given out in response to
my FOI request is not consistent with the truth.This is potentially
a very serious matter.

Perhaps you have an explanation?

Yours faithfully,

M Jones

show quoted sections

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From: Michael Jones

6 October 2009

Dear VOSA,

Since you are suggesting that no accurate public record of your
accreditations exists in the UK,perhaps you could put this matter
to rest once and for all by publishing a full,complete and up to
date list of all your accreditations on a county by county basis,in
much the same manner as has been provided in the Home Office link
provided above.

Yours faithfully,

M Jones

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Michael Jones left an annotation ( 8 January 2010)

Quote-marks The Home Office eventually released the information that VOSA refused to share,available on their website here:

http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/publicat...

It would appear that VOSA have rather exaggerated their accreditations...

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Michael Jones left an annotation (17 January 2010)

Quote-marks "The only power that can be
given to VOSA staff under CSAS is the power to stop vehicles for
testing."

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Dave left an annotation (22 August 2010)

Quote-marks Most people probably do not know that VOSA examiners "MUST" if requested, allow any non commercial vehicle, i.e. any passenger car to have a deferred test.
That means you can tell them to shove it, and arrange a test of you car in the next month, at a convenient time.
See Road Traffic Act 1988

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phil left an annotation (23 August 2010)

Quote-marks Good point!

Original - http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1988/ukp...

Road Traffic act 1988
67 Testing of condition of vehicles on roads

(6)
On the examiner proceeding to test a vehicle under this section, the driver may, unless the test is required under subsection (7) or (8) below to be carried out forthwith, elect that the test shall be deferred to a time, and carried out at a place, fixed in accordance with Schedule 2 to this Act, and the provisions of that Schedule shall apply accordingly. .
(7)
Where it appears to a constable that, by reason of an accident having occurred owing to the presence of the vehicle on a road, it is requisite that a test should be carried out forthwith, he may require it to be so carried out and, if he is not to carry it out himself, may require that the vehicle shall not be taken away until the test has been carried out. .
(8)
Where in the opinion of a constable the vehicle is apparently so defective that it ought not to be allowed to proceed without a test being carried out, he may require the test to be carried out forthwith.

See Section 2 annotation below.

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phil left an annotation (23 August 2010)

Quote-marks Original Source - http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1988/ukp...

SCHEDULE 2

Deferred Tests of Condition of Vehicles

1
Where the driver is the owner of the vehicle, he may at the time of electing that the test shall be deferred— .
(a)
specify a period of seven days within which the deferred test is to take place, being a period falling within the next thirty days, disregarding any day on which the vehicle is outside Great Britain, and .
(b)
require that the deferred test shall take place on premises then specified by him where the test can conveniently be carried out or that it shall take place in such area in England and Wales, being a county district or Greater London, or such area in Scotland, being an islands area or district, as he may specify at that time. .
2
When the driver is not the owner of the vehicle he shall inform the examiner of the name and address of the owner of the vehicle and the owner shall be afforded an opportunity of specifying such a period, and such premises or area. .
3
(1)
Where under the preceding provisions of this Schedule a period has been specified within which the deferred test is to be carried out, the time for carrying it out shall be such time within that period as may be notified, being a time not earlier than two days after the giving of the notification. .
(2)
Where no such period has been specified, the time for the carrying out of the deferred test shall be such time as may be notified, being a time not earlier than seven days after the giving of the notification. .
(3)
Where premises have been specified under the preceding provisions of this Schedule for the carrying out of the deferred test, and the test can conveniently be carried out on those premises, it must be carried out there. .
(4)
Where sub-paragraph (3) above does not apply, the place for carrying out the deferred test shall be such place as may be notified with the notification of the time for the carrying out of the test, and where an area has been so specified the place shall be a place in that area. .
(5)
Notwithstanding the preceding provisions of this paragraph, the time and place for the carrying out of the deferred test may be varied by agreement between an authorised examiner and the owner of the vehicle. .
(6)
In this paragraph— .
“notified” means notified in writing to the owner of the vehicle on behalf of the Secretary of State, and
“notification” shall be construed accordingly,
and any notification under this paragraph may be given by post.
4
The owner of the vehicle must produce it, or secure its production, at the time and place fixed for the carrying out of the deferred test. .
5
(1)
References in this Schedule to the owner of a vehicle are references to the owner of the vehicle at the time at which the election is made under section 67(6) of this Act that the test should be deferred. .
(2)
For the purposes of this Schedule— .
(a)
subject to sub-paragraph (b) below, if at the time at which that election is made the vehicle is in the possession of a person under a hire-purchase agreement or hiring agreement, that person shall be deemed to be the owner of the vehicle to the exclusion of any other person, .
(b)
if at that time the vehicle is being used under an international circulation permit, the person to whom the permit was issued shall be deemed to be the owner of the vehicle to the exclusion of any other person.

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