Home secretary Jack Straw said the whole private security industry needed regulating after a massive increase in complaints from the public about charges to release wheelclamps and intimidation and assaults by operatives.
Branding the shadier operators as 'rogues, villains and cheats', Straw announced a wide ranging consultation process prior to the introduction of new legislation.
Addressing the British Security Industry Association, Straw said: 'Some unscrupulous operators prey on motorists and cause a nuisance to the public. My department has received many complaints from members of the public who have felt intimidated by clampers looking to make easy money.
'This kind of behaviour cannot be allowed to continue. Regulation is needed. We need to balance the rights of motorists and the need to prevent nuisance against the right of private and public land-owners to prevent and deter careless parking.'