3. Background information on regulations
3.1 Why carry out a review of statutory fees? As explained above, there have been significant changes in costs since the regulations were last reviewed in 2005, and there have been suggestions that the approach of flat rate charges does not adequately cover the range of different circumstances in which vehicles might need to be removed.
3.2 The Scottish Government wishes to explore how far it might be possible to prescribe more case-sensitive charges. These would be designed to meet more closely the varying interests of police, vehicle recovery operators, the road haulage industry, commercial and private motorists and insurers. The Regulations may make different provision for different cases or classes of case or in respect of different areas.
3.3 The Scottish Government takes the view that the charges should not be punitive or an income generator for the police, but should be set at such a level as to make removal operations viable. An increase in charges to some degree is necessary because otherwise it is likely to become uneconomic for contractors to continue these operations. If contractors decided to stop work for the police, this would have a detrimental effect on the police's ability to enforce the law and remove obstructions or potential dangers, and their ability to prevent theft of the vehicles, their being used for crime or becoming a focus for crime or environmental degradation or being driven in a dangerous condition.
3.4 The Scottish Government also wishes to make clear that the aim of the charges has never been to impose a penalty on vehicle drivers or owners. This remains the case. The need for removal of a vehicle does not necessarily result entirely, or at all, from a culpable action or neglect on the part of the owner or driver. Where a criminal offence might have been committed, it is for the police to deal with that as a separate matter.
3.7 There will be occasions where the owner/driver of the vehicle can recover the vehicle using their own recovery agents. It does, however, have to be recognised that there needs to be a balance between the choice of the owner or driver to have their vehicle recovered and the duty on the police to investigate crime and also ensure the road networks remain open and free from obstructions.