Reminder issued to riders and drivers as Op Judgement targets vehicle nuisance
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As part of Northamptonshire Police’s focus on key anti-social behaviour (ASB) issues, the Force is issuing advice and information to riders and drivers to help them stay on the right side of the law.
Throughout September, officers across the county are targeting areas where vehicle nuisance is known to be an issue, under the umbrella of Operation Judgement, set up to specifically address the anti-social and dangerous use of motorbikes, cars and e-scooters.
As part of Operation Judgement, people are being encouraged to submit information about vehicle nuisance to the Force, with a new dedicated email address – [email protected] – set up as a further reporting avenue alongside calling 101, reporting online, or dialling 999 in an emergency.
Chief Inspector Pete Basham, who is leading Operation Judgement, said: “Community feedback tells us that vehicle nuisance, especially from motorcycles, affects a lot of people in Northamptonshire, and also indicates there’s significant under-reporting of this ASB type.
“We’re really encouraging people to tell us what they know about this kind of ASB, because information from our communities is vital in taking action against those responsible for vehicle nuisance – if we don’t know there’s a problem, we can’t start to address it.
“Operation Judgement is designed to prevent those who choose to ride or drive in an illegal or dangerous way from causing harm to others, and we’re using a range of powers to tackle it, from outreach and education right up to the seizure and destruction of motorbikes and other vehicles that are being used illegally.”
To help people ensure they are riding legally and safely, the Force is sharing information on what motorcyclists can and can’t do – especially in relation to off-road riding, which makes up the vast proportion of complaints to the Force.
Ch Insp Basham said: “Off-road nuisance affects people across Northamptonshire, with some areas affected worse than others by issues like noise nuisance, intimidation and abusive riding.
“The type of motorcycles reported include motocross, trial and endurance bikes, mini motos and quadbikes. However, any mechanically propelled vehicle could be used to cause alarm or distress to others if used in an anti-social manner, especially on public footpaths, parks and fields.”
So what’s illegal on public land?
Riding a motorcycle on council-owned land is an offence. It is also an offence to drive a mechanically powered vehicle on a footpath, bridleway or restricted bridleway.
The law states that footpaths alongside the road form part of the road. To legally ride a motorcycle on the highway a rider must comply with DVLA regulations. Information can be found at dft.gov.uk
What’s illegal on private land?
Riding a motorcycle on private land, without the landowner’s permission, is an offence of ‘riding on land other than a road’ and landowners are entitled to sue people who break these laws.
Even if a rider has permission to use private land, this doesn’t mean they are exempt from the law.
Penalties for anti-social riding or driving
Failure to comply with the law can result in vehicles being used in an anti-social manner being seized and destroyed, in those riding or driving them being taken to court for motoring and insurance offences, and riders and drivers being made subject to things like civil injunctions, criminal behaviour orders and dispersal powers.
Punishments can also apply to parents whose children break the law, on the basis of ‘aiding and abetting’ or ‘permitting’ offending, with penalties including points on their own driving licences which can lead to disqualification from driving.