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Six police forces given power to seize unregistered foreign vehicles
The DVLA and HMRC will work alongside 6 UK police forces to crack down on untaxed and uninsured foreign vehicles being driven illegally.
Vehicles brought into the UK from overseas can be used without registration with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) for a period of six months in any twelve months. Once this exemption period has expired, the vehicle has to be registered and taxed. By avoiding registration and taxation, the vehicles are more likely to be used in contravention to other laws, particularly relating to insurance.
Currently, it is estimated that as many as 350,000 vehicles entered the country between 2010 and 2013 and were used on Britain’s roads after having overstayed the 6 month exemption period with a subsequent loss of taxation revenue amounting to around £60 million annually.
Now, the Government has decided to take action against these offenders by forging closer relationships between the DVLA, Her Majesty’s Customs and Revenue (HMRC) and the police. A trial of the scheme was successfully completed in April 2014 with police seizing and impounding a number of vehicles that were in illegal use.
The trial is now being expanded to include Thames Valley Police and forces in Hampshire, the West Midlands, Northamptonshire, West Mercia and Staffordshire. All these police forces will be granted additional powers to seize and impound vehicles based on information shared with other agencies. The trial starts on 3rd November 2014 and runs through until February 2015.
If seized, the vehicle’s owner will need to pay a fee of £200 for release, £160 surety and a further £21 per day storage charges. The owner will also be issued an out of court settlement for £30 plus one-and-a-half times the outstanding tax payment.
Commenting on the new trial, the UK’s Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin stated that those who deliberately refuse to register and license their vehicles are causing danger on the roads and the Government is determined to take tough action to keep the roads safe.
The national lead for roads policing in the UK, Chief Constable Suzette Davenport added that it’s the responsibility of every driver to make sure they’re obeying the law, regardless of their country of origin. This doesn’t just include safe driving but also laws relating to taxation and insurance.