5/14/2007UK: Police Seize Cars for Mere Speeding
Scotland, UK police use anti-social behavior orders to seize automobiles for minor traffic violations.
Police in Scotland, UK are using anti-social behavior orders (ASBO) to seize cars belonging to drivers accused of minor traffic violations. Last year, the Lothian and Borders police seized 54 vehicles and issued 565 ASBOs to motorists for traffic offenses such as speeding.
An ASBO is a civil order against anyone accused acting in "a manner causing, or likely to cause, alarm, distress or annoyance to members of the public." If the recipient of an ASBO is accused of a second traffic offense within a year of the order's issuance, his car can be impounded.
Mike J Wilson, 50, wrote about his experience with an ASBO in the Scotsman newspaper. He was speeding at a reasonable pace off the A1 in East Lothian on a clear Sunday evening. Police stopped him after he cut over sharply to an off-ramp -- even though no traffic was near enough to be endangered by his action. Wilson's surprise at receiving an ASBO was second only to the discovery that he had no avenue to appeal the order.
"The impression I form is that there is a drift towards summary justice, which has a lower burden of proof - the balance of probability as opposed to beyond reasonable doubt," Napier University, Edinburgh, Law lecturer Ken Dale-Risk told the Scotsman. "However, I am somewhat surprised to see ASBO legislation being applied to standard road traffic violations.... Access to due process is denied and the consequences are disproportionate to the conduct."