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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 07/12/2004
Vehicle (Crime) Act 2001 - Regulation of Motor Salvage Operators



Summary & Purpose
To inform Members of the requirement on local authorities to carry out the registration of motor salvage operators as a measure to assist the Police with the control of vehicle crime and to adopt the provisions for registration. The report sets out the steps necessary to carry out the process and proposes the fees for registration.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Natural
Resource Use
Pollution
Prevention and Control
Biodiversity
and Nature
Local
Environment
Social
Inclusion
Safe, Healthy
and Active
Communities
Local
Economy
N/A
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Positive
Positive


APPENDIX M
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

LICENSING AND REGULATORY COMMITTEE – 22ND NOVEMBER 2004
EXECUTIVE – 7TH DECEMBER 2004

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Title:
VEHICLE (CRIME) ACT 2001 – REGULATION OF MOTOR SALVAGE OPERATORS

[Wards Affected: All]
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Summary and purpose:

To inform Members of the requirement on local authorities to carry out the registration of motor salvage operators as a measure to assist the Police with the control of vehicle crime and to adopt the provisions for registration. The report sets out the steps necessary to carry out the process and proposes the fees for registration.

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Quality of life implications – social, environmental & economic (sustainable development):

E-Government implications:

Information regarding Motor Salvage Operator Regulation, including the prescribed forms for application and links to other useful information, are to be added to the Waverley Borough Council web site.

Resource and legal implications:

It is estimated that the process of registration will consume two hours of administrative officer time. It is therefore proposed that a registration fee of 70 be set to cover this cost, and that this fee be non-returnable in the event of refusal in order to reflect the time required to administer all such applications. Only one motor salvage operator is known to be located within the Waverley area and therefore there is unlikely to be any significant income generated by the process.

1. The Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001 includes powers to regulate the motor salvage industry and requires motor salvage operators to register with local authorities, keep records and for the Police to have right of entry to registered premises without warrant. The purpose of the Act is to reduce the opportunity for disposing of stolen vehicles within the salvage industry by, for example:-

a) Giving the identity of legitimate vehicles which have been seriously damaged or written-off to stolen vehicles (a process known as “ringing”);

b) Breaking up stolen vehicles for their component parts which are then re-used to repair other vehicles or sold into the market for second-hand spares;

c) Disposing of vehicles and then fraudulently reporting them as stolen to insurance companies.

2. The Act also provides for the regulation of registration plates suppliers by the DVLC and other provisions relating to vehicle crime including access by the Police to insurance industry records. Once registered by the Council, a copy of the relevant registration is forwarded to the police so that they can conduct enforcement visits as appropriate. Additionally, the Driver and Vehicle Licence Agency (DVLA) is notified so that they can monitor notifications from motor salvage operators of registration plates that are no longer in use following disposal of the vehicle.

Requirement of Registration for Motor Salvage Operators

3. The Act requires any person who carries on business as a motor salvage operator in the area of a local authority to be registered with that Authority and to renew such registrations every three years. To fail to hold such a registration could lead to conviction with a fine not exceeding level 5 (currently 5,000) on the standard scale.

4. There is provision for the registering authority not only to grant registrations but also to refuse registrations to persons considered not to be fit and proper. In determining whether a person is a fit and proper the registering authority shall in particular have regard to previous convictions.

5. The local authority is required to keep a public register and make that register available for inspection at all times.

6. The local authority is also allowed to levy reasonable fees for applications. The Local Government Association has given advice to the Government on fee levels and suggests that fees should be in the range of 40-70 per application.

Applications

7. The presumption is of registration, unless the local authority is satisfied that applicants are not fit and proper persons to carry on the business of a motor salvage operator, and in deciding whether that is so the local authority shall have regard to whether the applicant has been convicted of any offences under the provisions of the Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001 and whether the applicant has been convicted of any offences of a description specified by the Secretary of State by order (SI 2000/1917). Details of relevant convictions are attached as Annexe 1. If the local authority concludes that they should refuse an application they may refuse any further registration from that person for a period of three years beginning with the day of refusal. An applicant refused a registration can appeal to a magistrates court if they do not agree with the Council’s decision.

Cancellation of Registration

8. A local authority may cancel a person’s registration in the register if they are satisfied that he is not a fit and proper person to carry on the business of a motor salvage operator and must have regard to the points previously mentioned.

9. Provision is made for appeal against cancellation to the Magistrates Court.

10. There is a right for applicants to make representations in support of an application. The local authority shall not refuse to register a person, refuse the renewal of a registration or cancel a person’s registration unless they have considered representations from the applicant. A notice must be served on the person stating what the local authority is proposing to do and the reasons for it and giving a period of not less than 14 days within which the person concerned may respond. The representations may be made orally or in writing. In the case of oral representations the local authority shall give that person the opportunity of appearing before and being heard by a person appointed by the local authority.

11. In the event of the applicant being refused a first registration or an existing registration being cancelled, that applicant may appeal to the Magistrate s Court within twenty-one days. The Court may confirm, modify or reverse the local authority’s decision and generally give such directions, as it considers appropriate. It is the duty of the local authority to comply with any directions given by the Court.

12. The proper exercise of administrative discretion, coupled with the right of appeal to Magistrates, is considered to satisfy the Article 6 obligations under the Human Rights Act.

Enforcement

13. The Act Provides for the inspection of motor salvage operators to be largely carried out by a Police Constable who has rights of entry. He is empowered to require the production of records and to inspect any motor vehicles or salvageable parts at the premises. There is no enforcement obligation placed upon the local authority.

Implications

14. The Council is required to set up a procedure to deal with any such registrations within Waverley. Officers are only aware of one such operator who has now been advised by the police that he requires registration. It is considered that the processing and approval of applications should be delegated to the Head of Environmental Services for administration within the Environmental Health Section and that where officers are minded to refuse registration, applicants be invited to present their case before the Licensing and Regulatory Committee.

15. In relation to fees for registration it is considered that about two hours of administrative officer time will be involved and that a non-returnable fee of 70 should be charged to applicants.

Conclusion

16. In conclusion, the Vehicle (Crime) Act 2001 places administrative responsibility for registering motor salvage operators with District Council’s. Waverley now needs to adopt these provisions in order to administer the registration of a local operator.

17. The Licensing and Regulatory Committee has considered this report and recommends it to the Executive for approval.

Recommendation

It is recommended that:

1. the setting of a non-returnable registration fee to be charged to any person applying for registration under the provisions of the Vehicle (Crime) Act 2001 be approved; 2. the level of fee be reviewed annually together with the Council’s other fees and charges; and 3. the Council be recommended that its Scheme of Delegation be revised to authorise the Head of Environmental Services to deal with and approve applications made to Waverley under the Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001, except that any recommendation to refuse or cancel registration be referred to the Licensing and Regulatory Committee or Licensing (General Purposes) Sub-Committee for determination.

Background Papers (DoEL)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Suzanne Robinson Telephone 01483 523436

E-mail: srobinson@waverley.gov.uk

Comms/exec/2004-05/303