Abandoned cars




Frequently Asked Questions

Abandoned Cars

There is a car in my road which has been there for a few days and seems to be abandoned. What should I do?

Take a look at the vehicle and make a note of the following:

  • The registration number

  • Whether there is a current tax disc displayed

  • Is the vehicle locked?

  • Is there any damage to the vehicle inside or outside?

Do not touch the vehicle. Call your local police and they will check to see if it is stolen or suspicious. If it is not reported stolen, the Environmental Health Department
at your local council can serve a 7 day notice on the vehicle. If it is not moved within those 7 days, the council can then arrange to remove it and have it scrapped.

People are starting to remove parts such as hubcaps and wheels from a car which has been abandoned. What should I do?

This is theft even though the vehicle appears to have been abandoned. If you witness this happening please call 999 with a full description of those responsible. The police
will try to attend as quickly as possible to deal with those concerned. If this has happened some time ago call your local police and tell the operator what you saw. The police
will then make appropriate enquiries.

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Anti social/nuisance behaviour

I have called the police about some youngsters causing a nuisance. Will the police attend and arrest them?

Anti-social behaviour is one of the major causes of problems in local communities and it accounts for a huge number of calls made to the police. Some police forces have adopted
a system of ‘problem solving policing’ to tackle the root cause of the problem, not just the symptom.

In most cases, the police response will not be to attend immediately as anti-social behaviour is not normally classed as an incident which requires an urgent response. The police
understand that this may frustrate you, but research has shown that upon police arrival the anti-social behaviour has usually already stopped.

So what will the police do? ‘Problem solving’ is about getting to the heart of the problem – asking ourselves why there is anti-social behaviour in this area. Who is causing
it? Who is the victim of it? By carefully researching these issues the police can normally come up with a solution that will prevent further anti-social behaviour. The police
will therefore gather the necessary evidence and work in partnership with other agencies to provide a solution.

This policy is adopted for most cases of anti-social behaviour, e.g., playing football in the street. However, it does not mean an officer will not attend where it is known
that specific offences are, or have been, committed, for example criminal damage. Your local Neighbourhood Office may also be able to advise you about tackling anti-social behaviour.

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Babysitters and ‘home alone’ children

Is there a minimum age for a babysitter to look after a child and at what age can children be legally left home alone?

There is no specific minimum age of a babysitter (although 14 is often quoted).

Parents or carers must adopt a common-sense policy, with the babysitter being able to look after both him/herself and the child. The same common-sense rule applies to the age
at which a child can be left at home alone.

However, you should bear in mind that, in the event of a child being seriously injured while being looked after or on its own, an offence may have been committed under the Children
and Young Persons Act 1933, which applies to anyone over the age of 16 who has responsibility for a child under that age and willfully neglects, abandons or exposes the child
in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health.

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Chemists rota

Can you tell me which chemists are open locally?

Please DO NOT ring the police for details of which chemists are open locally. Instead, details are available from:

  • your doctor’s surgery or the front door of your local chemist

  • NHS Direct (0845 4647)

  • your local health authority

  • local newspapers

  • the Internet

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Complaints against the police

How can I make a complaint against the police?

If you think a police officer has behaved incorrectly or unfairly, you have the right to make a complaint.

First, decide what you think the police officer or officers did wrong. For example, were they rude to you? Did they use excessive force? Were you unlawfully arrested? Were your
rights abused?

Unless there are exceptional circumstances, you should make your complaint within 12 months of the alleged incident but in any case as soon as possible.

If you decide to make a complaint you can:

  • Go into any police station where you will be seen by a senior officer on duty, probably an inspector or sergeant

  • Visit your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau, who can advise you as to whether you have grounds for a complaint

  • Contact your solicitor or Member of Parliament

  • Get someone else to put forward your complaint (e.g., a friend or neighbour, as long as they have a letter from you authorising them to do so)

  • Write a full account to the Chief Constable

  • Write to the Police Complaints Authority, 10 Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AE, who will forward your complaint to officers.

Should you have grounds for your complaint to be investigated, it will be dealt with impartially and fairly and will be overseen by an independent complaints body.

What should my complaint say?

Your complaint should include:

  • When the incident happened

  • What happened

  • What was done

  • What was said

  • Whether there were any witnesses

  • Where the witnesses can be contacted

  • What proof exists of any damage or injury

  • What will happen to your complaint?

What will happen to your complaint?

If you would be satisfied with an explanation or an apology where appropriate the police may be able to resolve your complaint informally.

If an informal approach is not acceptable to you, or if the complaint raises certain more serious allegations, it must be fully investigated by a senior police officer. Police
forces must notify the most serious complaints to the Police Complaints Authority as soon as they are recorded. The Authority must, by law, supervise certain investigations and
in others they may choose to do.

The Police Complaints Authority approve the appointment of the investigating officers, decide how the inquiry should be carried out, read all the statements and see all the evidence.
The final report comes to the Authority who state whether they were satisfied or not with the way the investigation was carried out.

Where the PCA do not supervise, the police force will appoint an officer to investigate the complaint.

What will happen after the investigation?

  • The Crown Prosecution Service must decide whether any criminal charges will be brought against police officers.

  • The PCA then decide whether or not any police officers should face disciplinary charges. Action can only be taken if it can be proved that an officer has breached the Police
    Discipline Code.

  • If there is a disciplinary hearing, you will hear from the police. You may be asked to attend; indeed, you are likely to be an important witness.

  • It may be that no action is to be taken or the officer is to face less formal disciplinary action such as ‘advice’ or ‘admonishment’.

What if there are no charges?

If there are no charges you will receive a letter explaining the outcome of your complaint.

Can you take civil action?

Making a complaint does not affect your right to take the police to court and sue for damages. For advice on civil actions you should contact a solicitor.

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