§ Viscount Simon
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What are the obstacles that prevent the privatisation of escorting abnormal loads on motorway and link dual carriageways. [HL2168]
§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Rooker)
As part of the process of reform exemplified in the Police Reform Bill, we are looking to remove unnecessary functions from the police wherever possible. The Bill's provisions for the exercise of certain police powers by civilians will help this process.
The escorting of abnormal loads is one of the functions that we will be addressing. We will in particular want to ensure that the elimination of routine police involvement is achieved i n an acceptable way that does not endanger public safety. We will ensure therefore that any police powers that might need to be used are appropriate for use by civilians. 'We will take account also of the need for escorts to have appropriate training and experience, the confidence of hauliers who use their services and appropriate recognition by other road users. However, no decision has been made as to whether private service providers would be suitable to contribute to this activity.
I know that the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) already wishes to reduce police involvement in this task. We look forward to working with it to achieve that goal, while ensuring that any obstacles there might be are effectively addressed.