The car wheel clamping industry is thought to be likely to exit British life soon. In the meantime, it has been an integral part of motoring life in the United Kingdom.
Only certain people can do this job. It has the potential to be confrontational with the possibility of violence. Therefore, car wheel clamping businesses and firms get staffed by hard rough men at the active end.
Public sector wheel clamping started in the 1960s by importing the technology and methodology from the City of Denver, USA. Originally invented by a violinist in the employ of the Denver City Orchestra, the Denver Clamp (a model of which catalogued as the Marugg Boot is on exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC) became an almost instant success with a great deal of fine money garnered in during the first month of operation.
I do not have to use persuasion to convince the average reader of these words that car wheel clamping firms are involved in highly confrontational and sometimes violent encounters with members of the motoring public.
There is a great deal of law behind the use of the car wheel clamp in the UK. The law of contract supports the use of the clamp provided certain particular stipulations are obeyed such as offer, acceptance, performance and consideration. It is of the essence that both parties were aware of and willing to enter into the contract. Therefore, if it can be shown that at least one of the people involved was not mentally capable of realising that a contract was getting entered into then the contract is invalid.
What all this boils down to is that two adults with the understanding of what they are doing can contract with each other so that I can park my car on your parking space on condition that I pay your authorised agent a stipulated sum of money in return for availing myself of the service of your parking space with the car itself as collateral for the debt to be paid.
All this might be invalidated by the clamping seeming like a punishment when the State insists on monopolising the right to punish; private individuals cannot punish each other in law. In popular parlance one is not permitted to: ‘Take the law into one’s own hands.’
The car wheel clamping businesses and firms have employees who, by clamping a car, can be seen as:
- Fulfilling the terms of the implied contract by ensuring the taking of security for the debt.
- Punishing somebody for breaking a private individual’s rules.
There is a conflict of law here.
There are a great many car wheel clamping businesses and firms and a look through the local version of any search engine shows how many professional firms are involved in this. Some of them are not much more than one-man and two-man outfits.
Thank goodness, the law is stepping in to remove this less than savoury aspect of life in Britain and at the time of this writing it is almost a dead certainty that a Freedom Bill will become statute law as a consequence of which wheel clamping will be illegal.
Lynn Featherstone, a government minister with a Lib-Dem held constituency in North London, has made it explicit that the wheel clamp is going – definitely.
That is not going to be the end of parking control on private property though. Companies such as Flashpark have innovated cutting-edge technology and methodology utilising the Internet and digital photography that provide parking control without the nastiness and confrontation.