Car cruising must be tackled

Shabana Mahmood MP has written to the Minister responsible for road safety in an effort to tackle car cruising

Dear Andrew Jones MP

I am writing to you to take action against car cruising – a behaviour which involves people meeting up in public locations to show off their vehicles, race, do stunts, ride in convoy and a myriad of other activities which are often distressing to local residents.

Hardly a month goes by without a news story about car cruising in some community in some part of the country. This has been particular issue in my own constituency which covers the city centre of Birmingham.

Car cruising is not new and attempts to bring it under control are not new either. Often it involves a local authority or a collection of local authorities seeking a High Court Injunction to ban car cruising in a certain geographical area. In 2016 in Birmingham the Council successfully applied for an injunction to cover the whole of Birmingham, Solihull did the same in its authority area and at the end of 2014 Sandwell, Wolverhampton, Walsall and Dudley got an injunction to cover all of the Black Country.

Injunctions are required because otherwise the powers the police have to rely on are more limited – for example, dealing with individual acts of anti-social behaviour or dangerous driving.

But the limitations of this approach are clear – not only does the behaviour simply get displaced to a different area but the costs associated with obtaining an injunction are not to be sniffed at. In the Black Country case there were 137 witness statements presented to the court. The costs soon add up.

The time for an injunction led enforcement regime has, in my opinion passed. If we are to get a true grip of this menace then we need a national regulatory framework with tough enforcement powers for the police. Only then will be able to rid our neighbourhoods of the scourge of car cruising.

Yours sincerely 

Shabana Mahmood MP