British spies are to be given a “licence to speed”, allowing the likes of James Bond to drive fast with impunity in the name of national security.
Transport minister Robert Goodwill was to announce the motoring law changes on Monday, which will hand spooks the same exemption as the police, fire service and ambulance drivers.
Officers in the MI5 and MI6 domestic and foreign intelligence agencies will be able to break the speed limit on surveillance and covert operations once they have completed a training course in high-speed driving.
A government ministry source was quoted in newspapers Sunday as saying: “This is a good, common-sense move that will apply to people who perform vital services in difficult circumstances. It will help save lives and make Britain a more secure place.”
Currently, any spy tailing a suspected villain through an urban area — and driving at more than 30 miles (48 kilometres) per hour to do so — risks getting into trouble for speeding.
Bomb disposal units, mountain rescue teams and vehicles used to carry organs for transplant are also set to be added to the list.