The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) says it will not endorse the protest to be staged on Thursday by supporters of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.The joint opposition is to stage the protest in Colombo against the Government and in support of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. However SLFP treasurer S.B. Dissanayake said that the party will not back the protest and warned that any member going against a policy decision taken by the SLFP could face disciplinary action. (Colombo Gazette)
Hundreds of foreign motorists have been allowed to speed on Britain’s roads with impunity because police cannot trace the drivers of vehicles from abroad, a constabulary has admitted.A loophole in European laws has meant that a total of 400 motorists from mainland Europe have escaped prosecution despite their cars being photographed breaking the legal speed limit by enforcement cameras on the M20 in Kent.Damian Green, the local MP, and the RAC Foundation have condemned the inability to prosecute dangerous foreign drivers claiming it sends the wrong message to motorists visiting the UK.The contraflow on the M20 was imposed for a seven-week period between April and the end of May as part of Brexit contingency plans.Traffic was reduced to two lanes and a 50mph speed imposed on the London-bound carriageway.While more than 900 British drivers were given £100 fines for exceeding the limit, 400 foreign motorists caught by the cameras escaped a fine or prosecution. While police who stop speeding motorists can establish the identity of a foreign driver, tracking down foreign drivers through speed camera footage can exceed the six month time limit for a prosecutionCredit:IAN JONES “Enforcement need not be at the roadside but at the ports. If cameras are used to detect offending then couldn’t the penalty be issued at entry and exit points? The mere threat of it would quickly act as a deterrent.”An EU directive introduced in 2017 was supposed to make it easier for member states to track down motorists who had committed a range of offences, including speeding.The directive compels member states to exchange the identity of the registered keeper or owner of a vehicle – as opposed to the identity of the driver – at the time of the offence.However, the UK runs a driver liability system whereas the directive is based on keeper liability.For police forces, that may make it more difficult obtaining information on drivers if they are from another member state.In the UK, police obtain the name of a registered car owner from the DVLA before writing to them to ask for a declaration of who was driving at the time of the photographed speeding offence. Failure to respond to that ‘Notice of Intended Prosecution’ is in itself an offence.While officers can obtain details of the foreign owner of a vehicle from the DVLA equivalent in most other European countries, they do not have legal powers to force that person to reveal who was driving at the time of an offence. While police could ask officers from the European Liaison Unit for assistance, it would be frowned upon because police in that team usually deal with far more serious crimes. It is also anticipated that pursuing a foreign speeding motorist could take more than six months, the time limit for any prosecution to be brought.Essentially, in the UK the driver of a vehicle is responsible for any crimes committed in any vehicle they drive, no matter who owns it. But most European countries hold the owner of a vehicle directly responsible for any crimes committed in that car, no matter who is driving. So, other European countries are better able to pursue prosecutions for British motorists caught speeding abroad because they DVLA provides the name of the owner of a vehicle. “The reason is that in the UK, whoever was driving the vehicle at the time of an alleged offence, is liable for prosecution. In some, but not all, EU countries, the registered keeper of the vehicle is liable even if they were not driving at the time.“Under EU legislation, dating from 2017, UK police forces can request the registered keeper’s details if they are a foreign national but we cannot establish who was driving the vehicle at the time. This is what we would require under UK legislation to secure a prosecution for a speeding offence.”Mr Green, the Conservative MP for Ashford, said he would write to the chief constable to demand an explanation, adding: “This is unacceptable. Everyone who uses that part of the M20 can tell you how they have been overtaken by foreign lorries who do not obey the speed limit.“The idea that they can do so with impunity sends out the wrong message.”He added that technology and help from foreign police forces should be used to identify commercial vehicles, such as lorries and trucks arriving at ports, and their drivers if it is thought they have been driving dangerously here.Philip Gomm of the RAC Foundation said: “Turning a blind eye to speeding drivers, of whatever nationality, sends out the wrong message about what is acceptable on Kent’s roads. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Inspector Daryl McGrath, of Kent Police’s roads policing unit, said: “The legislation as it stands does not allow UK police forces to prosecute foreign drivers who are suspected of committing a speeding offence in the UK when caught speeding by camera.