New Clause 2 - Registration of car park operators
Vehicles (Crime) Bill
Mr Charles Clarke (Minister of State, Home Office; Norwich South, Labour)
I thank the hon. Member for Eastleigh for tabling the new clause, because it is an important debate, and I want to set out the Government's position clearly.
The Bill flows from the recommendations of the vehicle crime reduction action team, which includes representatives of insurers, car drivers and manufacturers, the police and so on. The team made a 13-point set of proposals, which make up the legislation that we are debating. It also made a series of proposals about secure car parks, for exactly the reasons advanced by the hon. Member for Eastleigh. I want to set out why we give priority to that, before addressing the particular proposals.
Good standards of design and management make a major difference to crime in car parks. Incidentally, the proportion of car crime that takes place in car parks is 22 per cent., not the quarter referred to by the hon. Member for Eastleigh. The Association of Chief Police Officers secured car park scheme, administered by the AA, is the vehicle by which that difference will be achieved. There are 825 secured car parks, but it is a major aim of the Government to increase that number substantially.