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Police Reform Act 2002

Section 44: Removal of restriction on powers conferred on traffic wardens

261.Under section 95 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (RTRA 1984), traffic wardens are empowered to undertake functions prescribed by the Secretary of State. Section 96(1) of the RTRA 1984 provides that for the purposes of carrying out such functions, references in certain specified enactments to a constable shall include references to a traffic warden. Traffic wardens can then exercise the powers of a constable.

262.A limitation is, however, applied by section 96(3). This has the effect of providing that certain powers cannot be conferred on traffic wardens. One of these powers is the general power to stop vehicles conferred by section 163 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988). At present, traffic wardens can stop vehicles only in a limited range of circumstances. This restricts the functions they can carry out. It means that generally police officers must be employed in undertakings where it may be necessary to stop vehicles, even though their other powers may not be required. Subsection (3) removes the reference in section 96(3) of the RTRA 1984 to section 163 of the RTA 1988. It thereby gives traffic wardens the same power to stop vehicles as that currently held by police officers. As traffic wardens already have a power to direct traffic they will therefore now be able to undertake escorting duties. Subsection (2) makes clear that the power to stop also includes a power to stop vehicles for tests of their roadworthiness and compliance with construction and use regulations.

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