Rogue wheel clampers could soon face tough new regulations, the Home Office announced today.
Clampers in the past have been blamed for excessive charges, hiding signs and towing cars far too quickly after they have been immobilised.
Currently only individuals carrying out wheel clamping are required to hold a frontline licence from the Security Industry Authority (SIA), while their supervisors have a non-frontline licence.
But Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is now looking at proposals that would require the company itself to be licensed.
There would also be industry-wide standards for signage, penalties, the time between clamping and removal, and complaints policies, as well as forcing the companies to provide evidence of wrong-doing.
The SIA was asked to look into a feasibility study of the various options for wheel clamping regulation and now the Home Office has launched a formal consultation looking at ways to implement it.
Smith said: “There are clearly a minority of clamping companies indulging in unacceptable behaviour including unclear signage and excessive fees.
“That is why we intend to look carefully at how we can introduce a scheme for compulsory licensing of clamping companies and will publish proposals shortly.”