The private clamps certainly make performing courier work a bit more difficult, as you fight the clock to deliver a package, while praying the clamps don’t detect your white van parked in your private driveway or office block parking lot. . However, it has recently been discovered that private wheel restraint could very well be illegal and, under UK law, an infringement of our human rights.
According to the RAC, the securing of vehicles by private companies could be a violation of the Human Rights Act of 1998. The automobile organization says that fines charged by individuals are often exorbitant and unjustifiable. Fines for parking on private land are also requested without any legal process and this is something the RAC would like to see changed. The changes would certainly help people with courier jobs, as there is nothing worse than coming back from a delivery to find a big yellow clamp attached to your beloved truck.
The move comes after the launch of a campaign by the Daily Mail to demand that the government tighten regulations on securing private wheels and ultimately outlaw it, as it is in Scotland. Once the newspaper featured the campaign, it was simply inundated with stories of unfair car restraint cases. A man at a courier job who found his truck locked after delivering some documents made headlines when he took a mallet in the clamp and broke it himself to avoid paying the exorbitant fine and another man found his car locked after showing up in a private. office block to pay his girlfriend’s wheel clamp fee. The price charged by individuals does not appear to be in any way consistent. While some people have reported that they had to pay a £ 75.00 fine to free a car from the parking lot of an office building, another woman wrote in the newspaper describing how she had to pay a £ 375.00 fee.
So how exactly is it illegal to clamp the wheels? Chris Elliott, a lawyer for the RAC, argues that the concept of one citizen punishing another is foreign to English law and that the purpose of restraint is simply to prevent a vehicle from being on private land without permission. Thus, Chris argues, restraint is perverse as it perpetuates the damage done to the landlord, which is ultimately a self-inflicted injury. The only tactic is to punish or deter, both of which have no basis in English law. This is because they are based on the notion that one person cannot punish another and that punishment is a power reserved solely to the state. There are other arguments by lawyers that the practice of restraint also contradicts Protocol 1 of the Human Rights Law, which establishes that everyone has the right to the peaceful enjoyment of their possessions and should not be deprived of them, unless otherwise in accordance with the English law.
The Home Office is proposing a new licensing regime for private restraint devices. However, on the grounds that the mere act of depriving people of their vehicle is illegal, it seems unlikely that the changes will go ahead. With the RAC strongly discussing the legal elements of restraint, it seems highly likely that the very act of restraining the private wheel will become illegal. And for us in courier jobs, it’s certainly a case of the sooner the better.