The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Ian Lang) : With permission, I should like to read to the House a statement being made today by my noble and learned Friend the Lord Advocate in another place. [Interruption.]
Madam Speaker : Order. The House must come to order, as the Secretary of State is about to make an important statement. Those hon. Members who are leaving the Chamber should do so quietly, and conversations should be conducted outside the Chamber so that we may make some progress. The House must settle down so that we may hear the Secretary of State.
"In September of last year I asked Mr. William Nimmo Smith, QC and Mr. James Friel, Regional Procurator Fiscal of North Strathclyde, to inquire into certain allegations suggesting that there had been a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in Scotland. The report of their inquiry has today been published as a Return to an Address of another place.
The inquiry was set up following the leaking to the Press of an internal police report about allegations that decisions in relation to five criminal cases had been taken for improper reasons, namely, to prevent disclosure of information said to identify certain individuals in the legal profession as homosexuals. The allegations relating to the decisions were therefore allegations of possible criminal conduct. Mr. Friel and Mr. Nimmo Smith were asked to report to me. When I received their report, it was my duty to consider whether there was any basis for criminal proceedings."
My noble and learned Friend's statement continues :
"I have now studied their full and detailed report. It concludes that the decisions in each of the five cases were taken on a proper basis. In particular, it finds that there is no evidence of a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, or that the course of justice has been perverted or that the alleged motive for such a conspiracy has ever existed. On the basis of the report I have decided that no criminal proceedings fall to be instructed. Further, the report makes it clear that there is no evidence of irregularity in the conduct of business in the Crown office or procurator fiscal service.
On a wider front, in order to allay public anxiety it was my intention when I established the inquiry that, subject to any restriction necessary for the purposes of possible criminal proceedings, the report would be published in full. Since no question of criminal proceedings arises, the report has been published in full.
The allegations in the police report appear to have been more readily believed because of certain rumours which were circulating among police officers and others about members of the Scottish legal profession. Mr. Nimmo Smith and Mr. Friel have investigated these rumours and have concluded that they are without foundation. To appreciate the force of its conclusions, the report requires to be read as a whole. Those who wish to form a considered view on the matters covered by the report will therefore wish to study and reflect upon the whole text."
My noble and learned Friend's statement concludes :
"The report contains criticisms of certain officers in the Lothian and Borders police force. These are matters for the chief constable and not for me. There are, however, two matters emerging from the report which relate to the police and which I wish to discuss. The first is the failure of certain officers to understand the role of the independent prosecution authorities in Scotland. The second is that officers may misunderstand the decisions properly taken by those prosecution authorities in particular cases. I intend therefore to pursue with the chief constable what can be done, having
Column 874regard to the principles which guide the relationship between the police and prosecution authorities in Scotland, to prevent such misunderstandings in future."
Mr. Tom Clarke (Monklands, West) : In view of the interest taken in these matters by a number of my hon. Friends, particularly by my Friend the Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell), who has pursued the subject diligently, will the Secretary of State, in the context of his statement, explain to the House why he felt it necessary to support the motion for an unopposed return ? May I join the Secretary of State in thanking the Lord Advocate for agreeing to set up an inquiry, certainly on the suggestions of my hon. Friends the Members' for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling) and for Linlithgow ? Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that, although many had called for a judicial inquiry, Mr. Nimmo Smith and Mr. Friel have conducted a thorough and exhaustive inquiry of unprecedented depth? Can he tell the House what precise action the chief constable of Lothian and Borders has taken in respect of the authors of the report and other matters within his remit and for which he is responsible to the Secretary of State? Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied with the chief constable's response? Above all, what steps has the Lord Advocate taken to ensure that communication between the police and the Crown office is improved, to avoid what appears to have been a major breakdown of understanding of their separate and distinct roles?
Does the Secretary of State agree that, unless anyone has evidence to the contrary, the report should be accepted and that nothing is served by continued speculation in the absence of any such fresh evidence?
The hon. Gentleman referred to the statement that I made, but I should emphasise that it was my noble and learned Friend the Lord Advocate's statement which I have repeated in the House. It is important to establish that. It was my noble and learned Friend the Lord Advocate who set up the inquiry.
The hon. Gentleman asked me about the basis on which the report is laid before the House. It is published as a return to an address of the House and thus affords absolute privilege for those who publish it in accordance with the Parliamentary Papers Act 1840. This procedure is well precedented and has survived for 150 years ; it is a sensible way to ensure that there is no need to contemplate any reduction of the content of the report as published.
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his comments about Mr. Nimmo Smith and Mr. Friel, both of whom enjoy a high reputation in legal circles in Scotland for their ability, for their independence of mind and for their rigorous approach to the handling of evidence. It is, as the hon. Gentleman said, a thorough and exhaustive report, and I commend it to hon. Members to be read in great detail and thoroughly before firm views are reached about its conclusions. The chief constable is responsible for actions in the police force, and he has taken a number of actions as a result of the consequences of this matter. He initiated a review of various areas of police operation, and an action plan was drawn up. There has been a redefinition of the responsibilities allocated to the three assistant chief constables, and a new chief of the CID has been appointed.
Column 875There have also been a number of reassignments of CID officers to uniformed duties. The aim is to ensure that officers do not remain overlong in specialist posts. The chief constable has demonstrated a firm resolve in dealing with the matter. He continues to enjoy the confidence of the police authority, as he does of myself. The hon. Gentleman raised the question of the relationship between the police and the Crown office, and that is a matter, as my noble and learned Friend's statement said, to which attention is to be given. My noble and learned Friend intends to meet the chief constable shortly to discuss how both the relationship between the police force and the Crown office and the understanding among the police force of the Crown office's responsibilities can be improved. I hope that that covers all the points raised by the hon. Gentleman.
Sir Nicholas Fairbairn (Perth and Kinross) : I thank my right hon. Friend for his welcome back to the hon. Member for Monklands, West (Mr. Clarke), the shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, whom we are delighted to see with us and well.
May I raise three matters that arise out of the report? The first is the wisdom of writing expensive reports on an inquiry into rumour. The second is the wisdom of appointing corporals to investigate whether the generals have been interfering with the privates. Should we not have had much more senior people, such as retired judges or people of significance, to pass judgment on the judiciary? The third matter is whether the report is sound when its principal author gave an interview to a crook who pretended to be a journalist and who told him what it was going to contain, having attempted to steal the evidence against himself being a known homosexual. That seems to me to raise matters of grave impropriety which taint the report. I ask for my right hon. Friend's views.
My hon. Friend raised three matters with me. First, he questioned the wisdom of carrying out a report into rumour. I think that the House will agree that the rumour and speculation had become so established and was so festering in the Scottish scene that it was becoming a matter of serious public concern and one that rightly had to be dealt with, and dealt with directly and thoroughly. That, I believe, and any reasonable person reading the report would believe, has been achieved by Mr. Nimmo Smith and Mr. Friel.
My hon. and learned Friend suggests that the matter should have been handled by someone more senior, suggesting perhaps a retired judge. As criminal charges might have been brought, it would have been inappropriate to have the inquiry carried out by a serving judge. I think that my hon. and learned Friend will agree that that would have been inappropriate.
Column 876The report, which, once studied, will confirm this, is so thorough and so detailed that the need to appoint two individuals of the rigorous and competent qualifications of Mr. Nimmo Smith and Mr. Friel is fully justified.
Thirdly, on the question of interviews, I draw my hon. and learned Friend's attention to paragraphs 1.9 and 1.10 where he will find listed the persons interviewed by Mr. Nimmo Smith and Mr. Friel. I think that the list runs to some 90 persons. Clearly, it was their purpose to obtain as much information as possible, to establish evidence and to seek corroboration of it, from some people of a rather unreliable nature whose evidence could not necessarily be taken on trust.
Mr. Nimmo Smith and Mr. Friel have carried out a difficult task thoroughly and effectively and the report's overall effect is to justify the clear conclusions that they reach.
Mr. Menzies Campbell (Fife, North-East) : Was the report completed before the publication of an interview obtained from Mr. Nimmo Smith by someone masquerading as a journalist? Does the Secretary of State accept that, while it is right that we should consider the report as a whole, we must have regard to the fact that a number of other inquiries at the hand of the chief constable have not yet been completed? Will he undertake that the results of those inquiries will also be published so that we may have the opportunity to form a complete judgment?
Finally, if, notwithstanding the publication of the report, some people still believe that they have evidence to support the allegations, is it not their duty to present it to the proper authorities? If they are unwilling to do that, is it not about time that this speculation was brought to an end?
Mr. Lang : I understand that the report had been completed before the outcome of Mr. Nimmo Smith's interview with Mr. Donaldson was published. Indeed, Mr. Donaldson's report does not feature in the report of the inquiry. As for the question of other inquiries, internal matters affecting the police force are for the chief constable. I do not think that it would be appropriate to publish those decisions, but that is a matter for the chief constable. No doubt he will read of the hon. and learned Gentleman's concern. The question of possible criminal charges arising from other inquiries is a matter for the procurator fiscal, not for me. As for the hon. and learned Gentleman's final point, certainly it is the duty of anyone who has further evidence that he considers relevant, or who wishes to make further allegations--notwithstanding the fact that the report has now been completed--to bring those matters to the attention of the authorities.
Mr. Alistair Darling (Edinburgh, Central) : Does the Secretary of State accept that, notwithstanding what was said by the hon. and learned Member for Perth and Kinross (Sir N. Fairbairn), there is no reason to doubt the integrity of this far-reaching and in-depth report? Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that anyone who believes that the report is anything other than a true and accurate account of what happened can do so for only one of two reasons : either such a person has a vested interest in undermining public confidence in the Scottish judicial system, or he insists on peddling his prejudices about gay people in society as a whole as well as gay people who may hold judicial office?
Column 877If there is no evidence to cast doubt on the report, is it not time that it was accepted at face value, and all unwarranted speculation ended?
Mr. Lang : I agree with the hon. Gentleman's views about the credibility and accuracy of the report ; I certainly accept its conclusions. The House will have noted the hon. Gentleman's speculations on the motives of those responsible for spreading the rumours.
Mr. Lang : I think that the hon. Gentleman should read the terms of reference, which are set out in detail in the report. The report could have given rise to criminal charges, because it examined the possibility that there might have been a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in Scotland. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman agrees that that would be a very serious charge.
Mr. Jimmy Hood (Clydesdale) : Does the Secretary of State accept that all this has been going on for quite a few years? Hon. Members on both sides of the House will have been hearing the rumours for quite some time. Does it not come down to the fact that the police service mistrusts the judiciary to some extent, and will the publication of the report help to heal that? Will there be an investigation of what is influencing the suspicions within the police service and what is at the root of the problem?
Mr. Lang : The hon. Gentleman has identified a problem established and clarified by the report. Some members of the police force--a limited number, I suspect misunderstand the precise role of the prosecuting authorities. There may also be a need for the prosecuting authorities, on some occasions, to explain more clearly their reasons for proceeding, or not proceeding, with charges.
Dr. Norman A. Godman (Greenock and Port Glasgow) : The Secretary of State mentioned transfers from the CID to uniformed branches. Will he give the House an assurance that officers who seem to suffer from a certain degree of misunderstanding have not been punished severely within the service?
Mr. Lang : The degree of punishment and the actions of the chief constable within Lothian and Borders are matters for the chief constable. Ultimately, any police officer who feels that he has been wrongfully treated in connection with a disciplinary matter has the right of appeal to me ; but it is, in the first instance, a matter for the chief constable.
Mr. John McAllion (Dundee, East) : Mr. Nimmo Smith is a Queen's Counsel. He was educated at Eton, Balliol and Edinburgh university. He is very much a part of the legal establishment in Edinburgh. Indeed, he depends for his career advancement on that legal establishment. Does the Secretary of State accept that the report would have been strengthened if it had been conducted by someone outwith the legal establishment in Edinburgh?
Column 878Gentleman has read the report--I quite understand why he has not yet had a chance to do so--he will realise, from the quality and texture of its detailed analysis of the issues, that it could probably have been compiled only by people with close experience of legal matters and legal procedure.
Mr. Eric Clarke (Midlothian) : Is the Secretary of State really saying that we must accept this carte blanche? He seems to have failed to convince Conservative Back Benchers, such as the hon. and learned Member for Perth and Kinross (Sir N. Fairbairn). It seems that Mr. Nimmo Smith was hoodwinked, very naive, or both. I know that morale among the constabulary in Lothian and Borders is very low. They see scapegoats being so-called retired prematurely and demoted to the uniform branch. I can assure you that when one of them--
Mr. Lang : I advise the hon. Gentleman to read the report, and once he has read it in its entirety he will probably find it persuasive overall, as I did. My noble and learned Friend the Lord Advocate has accepted the conclusions of the report, which are clear cut.
Mrs. Margaret Ewing (Moray) : I welcome the publication of the report, but does the Secretary of State accept that the effective prosecution of justice in Scotland is an inalienable right to each and every citizen, must be beyond question and must have the confidence of the population? The Lord Advocate has asked that we read the report in full and reach a considered view. Does that mean that the Secretary of State is considering allocating parliamentary time to considering the legal system in Scotland, in which we could not only explore the results of this inquiry but consider other aspects that are causing concern such as legal aid, the amount of time that policemen must spend hanging around courts, the need to appoint further procurators fiscal and so on? Parliamentary time is desperately needed, and there is consensus on the need for such a discussion.
Mr. Lang : I share the hon. Lady's sentiment about the importance of maintaining confidence in our prosecution service, which is kept distinct and separate from the actions of the legislature. The allocation of parliamentary time to consider the legal matters that she described is not directly a matter for me but is for the usual channels. I am sure that her thoughts will have been noted.
Mr. Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh, Leith) : I should like to associate myself with the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling), but might not it be helpful in future if the Crown office were to give some indication of why charges are not being brought rather than using the catch-all phrase, "not in the interests of justice" ? Might not it be illuminating in other cases where charges are not brought, such as in cases of domestic violence ?
Column 879enter into the debate at all times. Having said that, and subject to that qualification, as a result of the report a need has been identified for the chief constable of Lothian and Borders to speak to my noble and learned Friend the Lord Advocate and to consider what can be done to improve the understanding of each other's positions between the police and prosecution authorities.
Dr. John Reid (Motherwell, North) : I have no reason to believe that the report is anything other than thorough and was carried out objectively, but, having no legal expertise, it seems to me to leave us with a problem. As I understood what the Secretary of State said, the basis of the reports, which have persisted for a considerable number of years and with considerable strength, was apparently a figment of the imagination of a small number of unspecified policemen who are apparently not only prejudiced but do not understand the workings of the legal system in Scotland and have a terrible propensity to gossip. I find that extremely difficult to believe as an explanation for the continuation and strength of the rumours. However, if it is true, is not the Secretary of State asking us to believe that something drifted on for all these years without a conspiracy by the same police officers ? In apparently clearing up one accusation of conspiracy, has he not implied that there was a conspiracy to undermine the legal system but one which came from police officers ?
Mr. Lang : No, I am not drawing that conclusion, nor do I think that the House should. I urge the hon. Gentleman to read the report in detail. It is severely critical of certain officers, and it is true that some saw a conspiracy ; but I expect that they will also want to read the report thoroughly and may reach different conclusions as a result. Certainly the report reaches a clear verdict, and I urge the House to consider it carefully before commenting further on these issues.
Mr. John Home Robertson (East Lothian) : Whether the smoke has been generated without fire, and following the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Motherwell, North (Dr. Reid), will the Secretary of State take it from me that people from the Lothian and Borders area have the highest regard for the leadership of their police force? Does he agree that we are lucky to have the services of a chief constable and deputy chief constable of such a high calibre in the Lothian and Borders police?
Mr. David Trimble (Upper Bann) : It is clear from the comments that the rumours and this case generate a concern that goes beyond the cases mentioned. I hope that the report will allay that concern, but I am curious about what the Secretary of State said about the reasons for making the report in this form, as a return to an address. Am I right in thinking that it was made in that way because parts of the report require the protection of the privilege of the House and would give rise to legal proceedings if it were published in the usual way? Does that not imply that parts of the report are therefore a little dubious or uncertain, and point to the need for a full, thorough judicial inquiry perhaps, as has been suggested, by someone from outside, finally to put the matter to rest?
Mr. Lang : I do not think that there is a case for starting another inquiry and going over the same evidence and background again in the absence of any new evidence. As for the publication of the report as a return to an address, it is a well established procedure which has been in place for more than 150 years. Its use does not imply any value judgment as to liabilities that might arise on particular individuals from the report, but it protects against that possibility, sets aside any uncertainty and enables all aspects of the report to be laid fully and clearly before the House.
Mr. George Howarth (Knowsley, North) : On a point of order, Madam Speaker. You will recall that during the Second Reading of the National Lottery etc. Bill yesterday I raised with you a point of order, as reported in columns 716-17 of Hansard.
My point of order was about the GAH group, which was commissioned by the Government to produce a report on the establishment and operation of a lottery and its impact on other industries. At the time, you said that you would look into the matter. I was especially concerned about an exchange that took place between the hon. Member for Crosby (Sir M. Thornton) and the Secretary of State for National Heritage which seemed to confirm that the hon. Member for Crosby was quoting from an article in The Guardian, which itself quoted from the GAH report. In addition, in confirming that, the Secretary of State was in effect quoting from that report.
It is worth mentioning that the GAH group was apparently formed on 8 June 1992--
Mr. Howarth : The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for National Heritage, in replying to the debate, referred at column 803 to the GAH group report and gave some detail of what is in it. I feel strongly that, in effect, Ministers were quoting, if not directly--we do not know whether they were quoting directly without seeing the report--from the report.
Although I am sure that I do not need to, I draw your attention, Madam Speaker, to page 382 of "Erskine May". Under the heading : "Citing documents not before the House",
it says :
"A Minister of the Crown may not read or quote from a despatch or other state paper not before the House, unless he is prepared to lay it upon the Table. Similarly, it has been accepted that a document which has been cited by a Minister ought to be laid upon the Table of the House, if it can be done without injury to the public interests."
The concealment of the report is in itself injurious to the public interest. It is now time that the Government were made to reveal the contents of the report which has clearly formed a great part of their thinking. I maintain that the report was quoted during the debate last night.
Madam Speaker : I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising the matter and for giving me an opportunity to respond. I have taken the opportunity to examine yesterday's Official Report. The Secretary of State for National Heritage responded to an intervention from the hon. Member for Crosby (Sir M. Thornton).
I make it clear to the House that the rule that a document that has been referred to should be laid upon the Table in its entirety applies only when part of it has been read to the House or when quotations have been read from it. Summarising or confirming--the hon. Member for Knowsley, North (Mr. Howarth) made a point about confirming--the accuracy of other people's summaries does not bring the rule into operation. The Secretary of State did not give a direct quotation from the document in question, nor did any other Minister. There is no obligation to lay the document before the House.
Mr. D. N. Campbell-Savours (Workington) : Further to that point of order, Madam Speaker. I accept your ruling unreservedly, but, I suggest that when you used the word "confirming" you opened the door to a Minister asking a sympathetic Back-Bench Member to quote from a document and then confirming it from the Dispatch Box as a means of partly introducing to our proceedings something that should be made totally available.
"Summarising or confirming the accuracy of other people's summaries".
I do not want to go further than that. The hon. Member for Knowsley, North made the point that the intervention concerned a summary from The Guardian.
Dr. Norman A. Godman (Greenock and Port Glasgow) : On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I seek your advice. If a report is the subject of a ministerial statement, would it be possible for hon. Members to be given access to such a report some 30 minutes before the statement? Statements give ministerial interpretations of reports and their findings. It would be useful for hon. Members to be given access to such reports 30 minutes before statements are made.
Madam Speaker : I understand the hon. Gentleman's concern about the matter, although I do not necessarily support his point of view. He may wish to pursue the matter with the Leader of the House on another occasion.
Mr. Bruce Grocott (The Wrekin) : On a point of order, Madam Speaker. At Question Time, in response to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, North-West (Mr. Wicks) in which he quoted Government statistics, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, the hon. Member for Suffolk, South (Mr. Yeo), referring to the statistics, said :
"To the extent that the figures mean anything".
A Minister has thrown doubt on the accuracy of Government statistics. It is difficult for us to understand how we can have a sensible debate in the House if Ministers do not believe the figures they are giving. That is especially important in light of the fact that we are about to have a debate on health matters. Ministers should make it clear when they speak in which statistics they believe and in which they do not believe.
Madam Speaker : If the hon. Gentleman wants to make that point, he must do so directly to a Minister through the debate. Perhaps if he catches my eye during the debate he can make that point to a Minister then.
Mr. Edward O'Hara (Knowsley, South) : Further to the point of order raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Knowsley, North (Mr. Howarth), Madam Speaker. May I seek your guidance? There is a philosophical question of what is a summary and what is a quotation. I have before me column 716 of the Hansard report for 25 January. The hon. Member for Crosby (Sir M. Thornton) quoted the statistics of 17.5 per cent. and 1,100. The Secretary of State referred to those statistics as quotations from the GAH report. Figures such as those which my hon. Friend the Member for Knowsley, North quoted were obviously quotations from the report. I seek your guidance on whether that might be regarded as a quotation and not a mere summary.
Madam Speaker : The answer is that it is not a direct quotation ; it is a summary. I have gone as far into that matter as I am able. I have dealt with three points of order on the matter today. Indeed, I dealt with points of order on it yesterday evening. I have made it clear that summarising or confirming the accuracy of other people's summaries does not bring the rule into operation. I have tried to be as helpful as I can to the House on the matter.
Motion made, and Question put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No. 101(3) (Standing Committees on Statutory Instruments, &c.).
That the draft Local Authorities (Recovery of Costs for Public Path Orders) Regulations 1993 be referred to a Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c.-- [Mr. Nicholas Baker.]
Question agreed to.
That leave be given to bring in a Bill to make it compulsory for newly qualified drivers to display plates indicating that they are recently qualified ; to limit the engine size of the vehicles that they may drive ; and for connected purposes.
As clarification, may I explain that newly qualified drivers are not exclusively drivers under the age of 25. Although the vast majority of newly qualified drivers are under that age, other newly qualified drivers are aged from 25 upwards, in some cases even to over 60.
As I said when I moved a similar Bill almost three years ago to the day, in the past 25 years there has been a revolution in motoring. Improved living standards have ensured that there is far wider car ownership. Instead of a norm of one car per family, it is now often the case, and indeed likely, that members of the same family own two or even three cars.
Furthermore, advances in technology, design and engine power ensure that cars are more sophisticated and powerful than 25 years ago. More than 29 million people have licences to drive a motor car. In 1988, 1,039,000 people passed their driving test. Of those, 73 per cent. were aged between 17 and 25 ; 21 per cent. were aged between 26 and 40 ; 5 per cent. were aged between 41 and 60 ; and, perhaps surprisingly, 0.3 per cent. were aged over 60.
It is abundantly clear from those statistics that the vast majority of newly qualified drivers are young people aged between 17 and 25. The accident, injury and death rates among that age group are unacceptably high. I fully recognise that in the past few years the Department of Transport and successive Ministers have made strenuous efforts to reduce road accidents and injuries. Their efforts are highly commendable and successful, with death rates declining noticeably.
However, there is still a serious problem that needs to be tackled and I suspect that hon. Members from all parties recognise that. The casualty rates for 1991 highlight the case. In that year, drivers killed at ages between 16 and 19 represented 4.6 per 100,000 of the population. Drivers killed at ages between 20 and 29 represented 4.5 per 100,000. of the population--almost as unacceptably high. For age groups above that, the average falls dramatically to 2.2 per 100,000.
A recent study carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory for the Department of Transport on attitudes, opinions and development of skills in the first two years of novice drivers reinforced those statistics. It showed that 28 per cent. of respondents to the study's questionnaire had been involved in at least one accident as a driver since passing the test. Of those, 25 per cent. had been driving for only 12 months ; 27 per cent. for only 18 months ; and 35 per cent. for up to 24 months. It also showed that some 33 per cent. of those who had been in an accident had been in one that resulted in an injury. From their own statistics and estimations, 34 per cent. felt that it was likely that they would be at least partly to blame if they had an accident in their first 12 months of driving. The report goes on to highlight the fact that those who had been driving for two years had higher scores on confidence in decision making than those who had been driving for a shorter period. This group also reported more frequently failing to notice someone waiting at a crossing, failing to use the mirrors when they should, making