Police cars are exempt from MOT testing under rules relating to maintenance in approved workshop – but video footage raises different questions
Since the shocking scenes in Bristol last night, those worried about the possibility of ‘provocateur’ action by the state to justify the Tories’ new law imposing heavy penalties on peaceful protesters have raised concerns about a police car that was seen in flames, claiming that its expired MOT status on the DVLA website means it was an old vehicle burned for propaganda purposes:
But police cars are exempt from MOT testing and certification, because they are maintained in approved workshops. Regulation 6 (1) (xiv) of The Motor Vehicles (Tests) Regulations 1981 exempts:
(xiv) a vehicle provided for police purposes and maintained in workshops approved by the Secretary of State as suitable for such maintenance, being a vehicle provided in England and Wales by a police authority or the Receiver for the Metropolitan Police District, or, in Scotland, by a police authority or a joint police committee.
Nonetheless, claims that police initiated violence on peaceful protesters – including groups sitting peacefully outside the police station attacked later in the evening – do appear to be at least potentially borne out by video evidence, as in this example published by Unity News, and need to be properly investigated:
The Establishment media and right-wing politicians are, of course, using events in Bristol last night to justify the Tories’ planned new laws against peaceful protest. But after the scenes of unprovoked police aggression against women carrying out a peaceful vigil at Clapham Common two weekends ago, such Establishment narratives should be treated with considerable caution until the Bristol incident is thoroughly and independently investigated.
After all, it’s only just over a year ago that the police subjected a group of around twenty 1950s-born ‘WASPI’ women, who were peacefully picketing the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) offices in London in protest at the theft of their pensions, to heavy-handed ‘kettling’ by several vans full of officers:
But in 2009, the then-LibDem MP and Home Affairs Committee member Tom Brake accused the Met of using undercover officers to incite violence during G20 protests, after seeing plainclothes officers showing ID cards and being waved through a police cordon, who then threw bottles at the police.
And similar footage has emerged from yesterday in Bristol of a man conversing with a smiling, riot-geared police officer who then points him to the front of a group of protesters just before trouble starts. The video is of the same events shown in the video above – but filmed from the other side of the line:
How many riot police smile and wave a protester through to a line where other riot police are holding back protesters?
There are serious questions to answer – but they don’t involve MOT certificates.
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