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Ground breaking car cruise ban continued by High Court

A ground breaking injunction banning car cruising in the Black Country has been permitted to continue.

The High Court, sitting in Birmingham yesterday (Monday 7 March, 2016), heard the introduction of the injunction in February 2015 had significantly reduced the problem across much of the region - and eradicated it altogether in many areas.

The Black Country wide injunction bans people from taking part in a car cruise anywhere within Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall - or from promoting, organising or publicising any such event in those areas.

And it has had an instant impact, with police and councils reporting a "significant reduction in car cruising" across the Black Country, with it being "eliminated altogether" in some areas.

Previously, there were a number of hotspots around the region including the Black Country Route near Bilston and Birmingham New Road on the border of Wolverhampton and Dudley, with drivers and spectators turning local roads into a race track.

As well as deterring would be car cruisers from gathering in the first place, 4 people who took part in car cruises have been convicted for contempt of court for breaching the injunction, with a further eight prosecutions pending.

A 25 year old from Wordsley and a 35 year old from Tipton admitted contempt of court after participating in a car cruise in Wolverhampton last October when they appeared before the High Court in January. Both were given suspended jail sentences and each ordered to pay £443.63 costs.

Meanwhile, last July an 18 year old from Walsall admitted breaching the injunction in a case brought by Sandwell Council by racing another car at speed in a 40mph zone in West Bromwich. In February this year, the driver he was racing, a 24 year old from Birmingham, admitted the same offence. Both were found guilty of contempt of court and handed 3 month jail sentences, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay £500 costs.

When the injunction was granted by the High Court in December 2014, His Honour Judge Owen directed there should be a review hearing 12 months after its implementation, at which the court would consider the effect of the injunction and decide whether it should be continued to its original expiry date of 1 February, 2018.

In evidence presented to the High Court, Joanne Mason of Wolverhampton's Anti Social Behaviour Team said: "There has been a significant reduction in car cruising activity across the Black Country since the injunction came into force.

"There is overwhelming support for the continuation of the injunction from local residents and businesses. It is vital the injunction remains in force to enable police and the 4 Black Country councils to continue to tackle the dangerous, anti-social and nuisance behaviour of car cruising."

The High Court permitted the continuation of the injunction yesterday (Monday 7 March, 2016) and Councillor Sandra Samuels, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "We are delighted that the court has seen the enormous impact the injunction has had in tackling the menace of car cruising in the Black Country.

"It is important that the authorities are able to not only continue using it bring perpetrators to book but, more importantly, to deter would be car cruisers in the first place."

Chief Inspector Jed White from West Midlands Police's Motorway Policing unit said: "Street racing is completely unacceptable and won't be tolerated. West Midlands Police welcome the extension of the ground-breaking ban on car cruisers.

"The injunction enables us, together with our partners, to continue to tackle those individuals who flout the laws of the road and pose a danger for innocent members of the public.

"The force recently launched Operation Hercules, a campaign which sees traffic officers patrolling major trunk roads popular with car cruisers on the look out for speeders and drivers of illegally modified vehicles."

Car cruising - the act of drivers meeting on the public highway on either an organised or impromptu basis to race or show off in their cars - is noisy, dangerous and illegal.

The injunction, secured by the 4 Black Country boroughs and led by the City of Wolverhampton Council and West Midlands Police, prohibits a number of activities typically associated with car cruising, including speeding, racing and driving in convoy, performing stunts and causing an obstruction on a public highway.

It also prohibits a number of consequences associated with car cruising, including excessive noise, danger or risk of injury to other road users and pedestrians, damage or risk of damage to property and significant risk of harm, public nuisance and annoyance to the public.

Anyone breaching the injunction is at risk of being in contempt of court, for which an adult can face up to 2 years in prison and a fine. In addition, police retain their powers in relation to traffic offences including driving without insurance, driving an unroadworthy vehicle and driving without due care and attention.

To read a copy of the injunction, and for more information, please visit Car cruising injunction.

Incidents of car cruising should be reported to West Midlands Police on 101. In an emergency, always dial 999.

  • released: Tuesday 8 March, 2016