Foreign-registered vehicles being used illegally on Britain’s roads are now being seized by some police forces using powers devolved to them by DVLA.
This has resulted from growing concerns about the number of foreign registered vehicles staying longer than the 6 month period allowed for temporary visitors to the UK.
DVLA, Department for Transport (DfT), Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), Motor Insurance Bureau, UK Border Force & Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have been working together to gauge the scale of the problem and put together more efficient intelligence & enforcement processes. This led to a ‘hot list’ of overstaying foreign registered vehicles being passed to the police.
A pilot exercise with 4 police forces started in April 2014 & resulted in 123 foreign registered vehicles being seized and impounded over 6 weeks. Because of the positive feedback from the police forces involved, this information is now regularly provided to police forces for use on their Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras – including Thames Valley, Hampshire, West Midlands, Northamptonshire, West Mercia and Staffordshire Police.
Any vehicle overstaying the period is impounded. The keeper can retrieve their vehicle by paying the release fee and surety payment (around £260) but cannot use the vehicle on the road until it is correctly registered and licensed in the UK. The only exemption is if the vehicle is being driven to a pre booked MOT appointment or any other testing appointment.
The keeper has 56 days to reclaim the surety payment once the vehicle is licensed. DVLA will also issue the vehicle keeper an out of court settlement. The amount will be £30 plus 1.5 times the outstanding vehicle tax rate for the time the vehicle has overstayed. Failure to pay could result in the keeper being prosecuted.
Highlights of the crack down include:
- over 1100 vehicles have been seized since DVLA changed its enforcement process
- over 2500 offence reports have been sent to DVLA by the police
- over 1300 out of court settlement letters have been issued to foreign vehicle keepers who have not complied
- DVLA has successfully prosecuted 120 offenders