Police clampdown on street racers

Warning of driving bans and vehicle seizures.

POLICE in Birmingham have vowed to intensify their clampdown on those intent on using the city’s streets for high-speed racing – and warned that tough legislation aimed at the offenders can also be used on other motorists who drive dangerously.

Recent weekend operations have seen officers patrolling along Fort Parkway, near Spitfire Island, clock two bikers racing at speeds of up to 140 miles per hour.  The men – both aged 46 and from Small Heath and Stechford, respectively – face being summoned to appear in court, whilst a 29-year-old BMW driver from Highgate and a 28-year-old Audi driver from Claverdon also await court dates for driving in excess of 120mph.

All four were stopped by police during a night-time police operation on August 18 and subsequent weekend blitzes have seen several anti-social drivers being handed Section 59 notices – warnings that give police power to seize vehicles. Birmingham North Police Sergeant Chris Nicklin, said: “Driving at these kinds of speeds is totally unacceptable; it’s dangerous and illegal. They pose a real danger to the public due to the manner of the driving and given the speeds they reach any slight misjudgement can result in a fatal collision. These are public roads, not private race circuits – anyone who engages in this activity in the West Midlands needs to understand we will take action and ban them from getting behind the wheel.”

Last summer a major police offensive against street racers using the A47 near Star City resulted in around 250 motorists being hauled before the courts where they received drive bans of up to two years and fines reaching £2,000.

The action saw racers caught on covert road-side cameras – providing court prosecutors with powerful evidence – and helped curb anti-social driving in the area.

Sgt Nicklin added: “We’ve had great success combating anti-social driving: working alongside local authorities injunctions have been placed on certain road stretches and temporary traffic calming measures lay out to deter speeding. We’ve issued 10 section 59 notices to irresponsible drivers in the last few weeks – the offender’s details are added to national police computers and if they’re caught driving anti-socially again they risk having their vehicle seized. It’s a powerful piece of legislation.

he also warned, “These notices don’t just apply to speeders but any motorists who drive anti-socially, in convoys, blocking carriageways, slaloming through traffic or unnecessarily bibbing horns – anything that could cause alarm for other road users.”

Street racing was raised as a cause for concern at a recent online web-chat where local residents put their points across to one of West Midlands Police’s lead officers, Assistant Chief Constable Garry Forsyth. As a result, ACC Forsyth plans to visit the area later this month to see firsthand police efforts to tackle the issue.