High Court grants full injunction to ban street racing in region – Sandwell Council

The High Court has granted a full and final injunction banning "street racing", also known as "car cruising", in the Black Country.

Prohibits persons from participating, as a driver, rider or passenger, in a gathering of two or more people in which some of those present engage in motor racing or automobile stunts or other forms of dangerous or obstructive driving.

Unlike the interim injunction in place since 2022, the full injunction also covers organizers and spectators, and prohibits people from promoting, organizing or advertising gatherings, or participating in a gathering as a spectator with the intention or expectation that some of those present will participate in street races.

The court order covers the entire boroughs of Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall and anyone who breaches it will be in contempt of court and could face sanctions including imprisonment, a fine or an order to seize their assets.

Granting the final injunction at Birmingham High Court yesterday (Tuesday 27 February 2024), Judge Julian Knowles said: "Car travel is an understatement - it is organized dangerous driving and sadly there have been injuries and deaths." .

PC Mark Campbell, of the Operation Hercules team, West Midlands Police's tactical response to street racing in the West Midlands, described the injunction as "a very valuable and proven means of prevention and resolution", without which "there will be a serious collision in which people are very likely to be seriously injured or killed.

He told the court: "It is only a matter of time before high-speed driving involved in organized racing leads to another incident with multiple fatalities - it may be the driver of the vehicle, an innocent member of the public or any number of spectators." actively participate in the street cruising encounter."

He said he has witnessed "over 400" vehicles street cruising in places such as the Black Country Route in Bilston or Manor Way, Halesowen, and the "potential for a very serious collision is huge" due to the speeds involved. When the police are called, "the patrol cars move away in a chaotic manner, along the medians, along the sidewalks, sometimes in the opposite direction on a highway and they run into vehicles coming in the opposite direction," and "they only "It is a matter of time before this results in a fatal collision."

He also highlighted the police resources needed to deal with street racing, which "therefore fails to provide policing to other parts of the community." In addition, traffic, police dogs, drone teams and helicopters are often required to intervene and add support, at enormous cost to taxpayers.

He added: "The price communities pay is incalculable. They are exposed to a high level of harm, noise, intimidation, disruption and threats. I have personally spoken to members of the public who are beside themselves. One was assaulted after approaching a group of street patrols performing stunts, one even had suicidal thoughts due to the constant noise and intimidation."

The court was shown video footage of street racing competitions in the Black Country and elsewhere, including an event in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, on July 18, 2019 in which a serious collision occurred at a street racing event, which caused one person to suffer life-changing injuries. and 16 other people were injured. Two drivers involved were convicted of dangerous driving and PC Campbell said: "The fact that no one died was purely a matter of luck."

Judge Julian Knowles said the videos “show cars racing at high speed, driving dangerously in an organized manner, with spectators watching, filming and cheering. Spectators are in great danger."

Wolverhampton anti-social behavior team leader Pardip Nagra, who gave evidence including statements from councillors, MPs, residents and businesses across the Black Country, told the court: "I think it is vital that we have an injunction in place in all black territory." Country to allow West Midlands Police and all four councils to continue to tackle the dangerous and anti-social activity of car cruising.

"There is overwhelming support from local residents and businesses who, prior to the previous court order, had suffered for many years and who are concerned that, without an injunction, the magnitude of the car cruiser problem will return to levels previously experienced."

The application was led by Wolverhampton Council on behalf of Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall Borough Councils, and supported by West Midlands Police. A spokesperson for the claimants said: “We are delighted that the High Court has seen fit to grant this full and final injunction which will help us continue to address the menace of street racing in the Black Country.

"The wealth of evidence presented to the court makes clear the impact this anti-social, irresponsible and highly dangerous behavior has had on the people of our region, and the tragic incidents both locally and nationally which have caused serious injuries and even deaths. , and I would like to thank everyone who has shared their experiences so candidly."

The injunction and power of arrest will remain in force for a period of at least three years, and will be subject to annual review. It will come into effect in the coming days, once claimants have completed certain services. Meanwhile, the precautionary measure and the power of arrest remain in force.

For more information about the interim injunction, please visit the applicants' street racing injunction pages: sandwell, Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Street racing incidents in Sandwell must be reported online to the council or West Midlands Police on 101. In an emergency, always dial 999.

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