Cars Behind bars leads to 2,000 vehicle seizures

More than 2,000 vehicles have been seized across Staffordshire following a highly successful campaign in clamping down on uninsured driving.

The campaign was first launched on 1 May 2013 by Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis; since this time, 2,004 vehicles have been seized including cars, vans, motorbikes, lorries, mopeds and even a tractor, with 665 of those being scrapped.

In addition more than £35,000 has been raised via auction by selling high value seized vehicles. The proceeds of these vehicles have gone back into funding initiatives in the local community.

The campaign has utilised the cutting edge Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR). The technology works by cameras remotely reading a vehicles number plate and then cross referencing it against the Motor Insurance Database which lists all of the insurance policies in force across the country. In previous years, many more drivers would get away with uninsured driving due the checks having to be carried out on a manual basis which was limited by resource.

Mr Ellis commented on the campaign’s success: “Since its launch a year ago, the crackdown on insurance dodgers has been far and away the most popular thing raised with me by people I’ve spoken to across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

“More than 2,000 people have now had to learn their lesson the hard way thanks to tremendous work by officers from Staffordshire Police. Those who drive without insurance can’t hide in Staffordshire.

“They are being caught and dealt with by having their vehicles seized and, in many cases, scrapped.

“It’s definitely struck a chord with law-abiding motorists who are hit by rising premiums because of these law-breakers.

“Why should we all pay more because some people don’t pay at all?

“It’s clear that the message is hitting home as the number of insured motorists on Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent roads has risen significantly during the crackdown.”

Commenting on the ANPR technology, Chief Superintendant John Drake said: “n seconds the ANPR system identifies vehicles that are uninsured, as well as those that have no tax or suspected of being involved in other crimes.

“As well as specific operations, it’s also part of daily activities for officers to seek out and target those committing these offences. We often find that those who choose to drive on our roads without insurance are linked to other criminal offences such as theft and burglary.”

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