Hand on heart . . . we’ve put 1,500 cars behind bars already
For police and crime policy-makers in Staffordshire celebrated seizing their 1,500th insurance-dodging vehicle owner on the red-letter day.
The Cars Behind Bars crackdown – started by the county’s Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner – has ripped the heart out of the illegal market.
The campaign has seen cars, vans, motorcycles, mopeds, lorries and even a tractor seized – with many vehicles scrapped – since it was launched less than a year ago in May 2013. It reached the 1,500 mark last Friday.
The zero tolerance approach on insurance dodgers has become the most popular thing raised by people speaking to the OPCC.
It’s definitely struck a chord with law-abiding motorists who are hit by rising premiums because of these law-breakers. Why should all pay more because some people don’t pay at all?
Over 1,500 people have now had to learn their lesson the hard way. Those who drive without insurance can’t hide in Staffordshire. They are being caught and dealt with by having their vehicles seized and, in some cases, scrapped.
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.
Cars Behind Bars uses Staffordshire’s extensive automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system that identifies those flouting the law.
Some of the vehicles seized since the campaign launched can be viewed at http://www.staffordshire.police.uk/carsbehindbars
Chief superintendent Jon Drake, from Staffordshire Police, said: “In 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.”
The fixed penalty fine for people who are caught without insurance was increased nationally from £200 to £300 in August 2013.
Motorists also face their car being seized, could be summoned to court and be disqualified, and an endorsement of six penalty points.
Drivers re-claiming their car when they have proof of insurance have to pay £150 car recovery costs plus £20 per day storage.