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MOD Police FPN in Bristol Parkway - "no tax"


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Guys,

 

Just to reiterate what I believe to be the situation insofar as I understand it;

 

Every vehicle registered in the United Kingdom must be taxed if used or kept on a public road.

If the vehicle is kept off road it must either be taxed or have a SORN in force.

If used/kept on a public road the vehicle must display the VEL in the prescribed manner.

 

Off road, whilst the vehicle may/may not be taxed or should be taxed (if SORN has not been declared), there is no legal requirement to actually display the VEL. After all, there is no current VEL to display if SORN has been declared.

 

For the purposes of vehicle excise duty liability, the definition of public road does not extend to private land, (including private roads & car parks) whether or not the public have access (on payment or otherwise).

 

How on earth the OP has managed to attract a FPN under such circumstances is beyond me. I can only speculate that it was probably issued by a probationary constable with much still to learn.

The wording of the FPN is also sloppy – offence code RV02038 certainly relates to failing to exhibit an excise licence, yet the wording simply states 'NO TAX' – what's that supposed to mean? - all very ambiguous to the recipient who may not be an expert on offence codes – does it mean the vehicle is not taxed (incorrect in this case) or failing to display?

 

The issuing officer being from the MOD Police is certainly puzzling – aquabubble, absolutely no offence intended, but can I ask if you have maybe made a mistake & the issuing officer is in fact from the British Transport Police?

 

If I was facing this situation, I would take my chances & elect to have this matter dealt with by way of summons, fairly comfortable in the knowledge that the case would probably not see the light of day in any courtroom.

 

The above are my personal opinions & interpretation of the law on the subject matter.

Edited by StrawDog
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It's reassuring that the comments here are broadly consistent with my own views. And thanks to all the posters so far - there's some very useful information in there that I will use to make my decision on how to proceed.

 

I've attached scans of the pouch and of the ticket itself. It's definitely the MOD Police and contrary to my first reaction, it is legitimate and not a con. Is it a valid ticket though, given that the offence code does not match the description?

 

I suppose my first point of call should be the station manager of Bristol Parkway to determine the ownership/maintenance of the car park and the road that runs through it. From previous dealings with APCOA, I know that the area where I parked is dealt with under private parking regulations and not railway byelaws, if that makes any difference.

 

I am also mulling over submitting a FOI request to the MOD Police to understand the circumstances around the officer being in a position to put this notice on my car. Whether the information I get back will be useful is another question; presumably how I phrase the question is important? Of course the only problem with this is that the length of time they have to respond is longer than the time I've got left to pay up or elect to go to court :sad:

FPN_01_16_09_2009.jpg

FPN_02_16_09_2009.jpg

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The Car Park is not listed in the South Glos. Council car park locations.

 

I think you'll find the car park is owned by Network Rail and operated by APCOA Parking (UK) Limited. First Great Western may also be in the mix.

 

I think it would be worth checking if the road through the car park is adopted by South Glos. Council. I live in the area and use the car park as a cut through from Parkway North to Stoke Gifford. However i think it is a private road.

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I would go down the cop shop nearest the car park and ask why the MOD Police have issued for not displaying when you are not parked on the road. They may know why the MOD are enforcing in Bristol, could be a joint operation or something usually they know if other forces are on the ground. What ever the result take it to court you have no case to answer as you were not on a public road.

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Good idea to go to the local station and ask - will do that.

 

Strangely enough, I've heard from a friend who works with the secret squirrels that there is a new MOD office right near Bristol Parkway. A subsequent google gave further details: the base for UKMFTS – the UK Military Flying Training System no less!

 

My friend also highlighted that the MOD police may have jurisdiction within a certain radius of buildings, so this may explain why this officer was in this vicinity - although if you look at the Bing aerial map, it is still a fair old walk to the station from that building (if you're interested, you head down and to the right (South West on the compass) - my car was parked off the red bit of tarmac you can see heading through the car park). Me asking at the police station will surely back this up or discount this - alternatively I could always roll up to the security guards and demand an explanation! ;)

 

Then my only task is to find out who maintains the road that goes through Bristol Parkway car park.

Edited by aquabubble
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Can I just have clarified, the car itself WAS actually taxed, and the DVLA fully aware that the vehicle was taxed? (So that an ANPR check would have not caused any alarm bells to go off?).

 

I've long held that the old 'display' rules are needlessly opperssive, since the online database used by 'proper' forces are enough to satisfy themselves that the vehicles is otherwise fully compliant - I think the most relevant approach is to dispute on the basis of the MoD having no authority to enforce on Railway Property.

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Things work a little differently in Scotland but I had a speeding FPN that I wanted to challenge as it was from a fixed camera and my car number plates had been stolen recently (I was arguing that it might not have actually been my car that was filmed). I pulled together my "evidence" and sent it to the Procurator Fiscal (ie CPS in England) together with the FPN which was ticked "court date requested". THE Procurator Fiscal wrote back to say that he had marked the case "no further action" and the case never went to court. A similar approach may be your answer here.

All comments are my personal views - if in doubt then seek professional advice. If you think i've helped then please tip my scales.

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There is a very large MOD establishment at Abbey Wood near Parkway in Bristol, so the MOD Police being there doesn't suprise me.

 

I apologise that this isn't helpful at all...

Abbeywood is over a mile from Bristol Parkway. The other site mentioned is around 1/2 a mile from Bristol Parkway. It's hard to see either site fitting into the definition for immediate vincinity.

 

My guess is that it was MOD Plod from the Abbeywood site who were attending at the behest of either Avon & Somerset or the British Transport Police.

 

I've already linked the list of a car parks from the South Gloucester Council website.

 

OP - I would make a quick call to the South Glos and double check whether they control the car park. Also check with them whether the road throught the car park has been adopted by them. (Planning and transportation - 01454 868004 or main number 01454 868009)

 

If the answer to both of the questions above is no then I think you have grounds to contest this FPN.

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Just had a chat to my friendly neighbourhood Mod Plod.

 

He says they'd only be involved outside the Defence Estate if they were assisting a local officer with a specific incident (i.e. the local police would be present), or if the local Chief Constable had requested assistance with a specific operation, but these are usually security ops like state visits and so on. There will be a record of all such requests, of course.

 

I gather from colleagues who have been to Abbey Wood that the inadequate parking is a running sore, and that MoD, in a desperate attempt to placate local businesses, regularly try to dissuade staff from parking in local facilities such as shopping centres and so on, which might point to BTP asking for assistance.

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Maybe it is different in England, but up here - the toytown police forces cannot 'assist' each other, only individually with the designated public force. BNFL, MoD, BT have their own responsibilities, and AIUI a MoD warrant card has no legal standing on non MoD property unless authorised by the relevant Chief Constable, one from another 'private' force cannot.

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I don't think your view is correct, Buzby. Service Police (i.e. RMP, RAFP and RN Provost) have no jurisdiction outside MOD property, except against military personnel, but MDP are a 'proper' police force, whose powers are valid throughout the UK in defence-related matters. They don't need to be authorised by the local Chief Constable, for example, to investigate offences such as corruption or fraud that concern defence contracts, and can and do arrest suspects on non-MOD property.

 

MDP regularly investigate civilians selling stolen military kit on Ebay, for example, and at the other end of the scale I think it unlikely that the SEG needs authorisation from local forces to operate.

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Agree with the above. As I read it the legislation applies to all of the UK including Scotland (Busby take note).

 

While I think the area of jurisdiction is interesting it is really irrelevant to the OP. The MOD plod were probably in the area at the behest of the British Transport Police ( possibly Avon and Somerset) given their vicinity to the station.

 

However the simple fact is that the car park is private land. The OP has been ticketed for failure to display a valid tax disk. As this is not a requirement on private land he can safely argue that no offense has been committed.

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I don't think your view is correct, Buzby. Service Police (i.e. RMP, RAFP and RN Provost) have no jurisdiction outside MOD property, except against military personnel, but MDP are a 'proper' police force, whose powers are valid throughout the UK in defence-related matters.

 

Afraid not. Having now spoken with an MSP, I've found that (for example) the BTP have to be SPECIFICALLY permitted to operate within Scotland as a seperate force, which has nothing to do with their Powers in England. Additionally, they policew only have investigative powers, they are not the prosecutor, and up here this is at the sole discretion of the Procurators Fiscal - so your idea of a 'UK wide' police force whether private or 'service' is a non-starter except at a cosmetic level.

 

What you overlook is the issue that was actually being commented on - tht of the non-civil police forces backing themselves up to address alleged lawbreaking within areas exclusive to their intended jurisdiction. In the example given, I believe a MoD issued ticket for transgression on BTP-policed private property should and would be successfully challenged, in pretty much the same way as - say, a BTP-issued parking ticket in an MoD car park. It is perverse.

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Can you provide a reference to the legislation your MSP relies upon for his/her statement, as I can't find anything. Even if true, I really cannot imagine some some sweaty copper actually trying to stop MDP/MOD moving wpn convoys through Scotland - though I dare say some of the more risible members of the plastic parliament might have a go.

 

At the risk of straying off topic, I don't understand what you mean by MDP being a non-civil police force. MDP are civil police - they are not part of the armed forces, which have their own provost staff.

 

I don't think that a MDP-issued ticket is necessarily perverse; as has been discussed, it could have been issued under a specific joint op. Other forces issuing tickets or otherwise enforcing law on MOD property is actually quite common. I live on MoD property, and local police, MDP and RMP are all present and all deal with, for example, parking and traffic offences in the area.

 

Anyway, it will be interesting to see what the OP's enquiries bring to light.

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The MSP wasn't referring to specific legislation in response to a direct request, it was for an opinion based on her dealing with the MoD (at first hand).

 

The civil police as those arranged by county with their own franchise for law enforcement. The other forces are thhere for their own specific purposes, and whilst it makes sense for them to 'assist' the relevant area force, attempts at them to 'go freelance' within another forces area should always be challenged.

 

However as you say, it will be interesting to see how this pans out. Especially as in the case of Network Rail, they have invriably outsourced parking to PPC's and as such a further avenue of challenge against a BTP-issued ticket when they have already decriminalised parking on railway property demands tight scritiny.

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Maybe they do 'homers'.... :)

 

On a similar tack - I was up in Manchester and saw 3 blue and white vans and men up telephone poles with ladders. The vans had 'Telecom Eireann' on them. when I was in Waterford (Eire), I saw a similar scene with BT Vans.... makes you wonder why they can;t organise their own workforces to deal with their own problems....

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It's been a while since I last posted - life catching up with me. I've spoken to South Gloucestershire Council, specifically the Transportation Services so thanks to pin1onu for posting their number and the advice. They've informed me that the road going through Bristol Parkway is NOT adopted and is not maintained by them; neither is the car park itself. Here's the map they gave me:

 

Bristol_Parkway_Station_small.jpg

 

(I hope I'm allowed to include this image - if not, please let me know so I can remove it)

 

Note that the green, yellow and brown areas are the public highway; anything else is private. So as you can see, anything between

the Hatchet Road junction and Hunts Ground Road is not public property.

 

Armed with this information, I shall be requesting a court hearing.

 

Does anyone know, if the case against me is upheld, whether I will be liable for costs as well as the original penalty?

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Costs would be minimal - but since you have to provide your evidence before the hearing, you'll probably find that it will be cancelled. You then have to ask yourself whether you will accept this, as to do so means you lose all rights to YOUR expenses in proving your innocence.

 

Only you can judge your confidence in holding out - but if they suggest withdrawal, say you'll agree if your costs of £80 are met by the pursuer.

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