Councils in the Black Country will return to the High Court on Wednesday 27 January to seek the renewal of an injunction banning car cruising in the region for a further three years.
As well as an extension to the existing injunction, the application further seeks to vary the order to include spectators as participants as well, and not only those people organising and taking part in car cruises.
As necessary during COVID-19, the hearing will take place remotely and members of the public are invited to submit their views regarding the car cruising injunction and the application to extend and vary the terms of the order by emailing email@example.com no later than 4pm on Thursday 21 January 2021. Comments received will be presented as evidence to the High Court.
Councillor Garry Perry, deputy leader for resilient communities and portfolio holder for community protection at Walsall Council said:
“Car cruising is not just a noisy nuisance, and it is certainly not a ‘bit of fun’. It is extremely dangerous, anti-social behaviour that absolutely cannot be tolerated on our roads. While already illegal, the injunction in place means that anyone caught participating in, organising or promoting a car cruise in the Black Country can be charged with contempt of court, which attracts jail time and a heavy fine, in addition to penalties resulting from the traffic offences themselves.
“The existing injunction has been in place since February 2015 and over this time we have seen a dramatic reduction in instances of illegal street racing and car gatherings across the region. Walsall Council, our neighbouring authorities within the Black Country and the police do not want to see a return to the past where communities were put at risk by this irresponsible behaviour and this is why we are requesting that the High Court extend the injunction for a further three years.
“By seeking also to vary the order to include spectators as active participants in car cruising and subject to the terms of the injunction, we aim to further deter those who encourage anti-social behaviour.”
The current injunction is due to expire next month, and Walsall Council, the City of Wolverhampton Council, Sandwell Council, Dudley Council and West Midlands Police are working together to secure its extension until 2024.
Incidents of car cruising should be reported to West Midlands Police on 101. In an emergency, always dial 999.
Notes to editors:
The existing injunction defines car cruising as:
- two or more motor vehicles (including motorbikes) between the hours of 3pm and 7am being on a highway or in a publicly accessible place within the Black Country at which any such vehicle or occupant of a vehicle performs any of the prohibited activities listed below which causes, or is capable of causing, any of the prohibited consequences set out below. Participating in car cruising means being the driver of, or being carried in (or on), a motor vehicle (including motorbikes) in circumstances in which the above applies.
The prohibited activities referred to above are:
- speeding; driving in convoy; racing; performing stunts; sounding horns or playing music as to cause a significant public nuisance; using foul or abusive language; using threatening, intimidating behaviour towards another person; causing obstruction on a public highway, whether moving or stationary.
The prohibited consequences referred to above are:
- excessive noise; danger or risk of injury to road users, including pedestrians; damage or significant risk of damage to property; significant risk of harm; significant public nuisance; significant annoyance to the public.
More than 50 individuals have been subject to committal proceedings for breaching the injunction since 2015. One defendant received an immediate custodial sentence of three months, more than a dozen were given suspended sentences of up to six months while others received fines of up to £2,000 and were ordered to pay costs. More than a dozen respondents have given undertakings to the court.
In addition, more than 100 warning letters have been issued, and in all but one instance no future offending behaviour has been reported. Meanwhile, police continue to undertake regular car cruise operations, supported by technology including drones which has enabled the authorities to secure high quality video evidence of gatherings.
For more details, including the full injunction order and powers of arrest, please see the informtation on the Walsall Council website.