Strengthening our partnership with police
A renewed focus by the police to target uninsured driving resulted in 2016 being an outstanding year in terms of the number of vehicles seized by the police for driving without insurance. In total 145,000 vehicles were seized across the UK in 2016. Notably, West Midlands Police seized 14,000 vehicles and Police Scotland also had a successful year seizing over 8,000.
We know that a visible police presence on our roads makes a real impact in tackling uninsured driving. Our mission is to reduce the level and impact of this crime and whilst it would be wonderful if no vehicles had to be seized by the police because everyone was compliant with the law, we are clearly a long way from that time. There are still something in the order of 1 million vehicles on our roads without appropriate insurance. Therefore, it is only natural that we want to see even more vehicles seized by the police for no insurance in 2017. By continuing to work closely with the police we believe we can make this happen.
Police operations focused on uninsured driving provide a reminder to the public about the legal requirement to ensure they have the correct motor insurance in place at all times – something many people choose to ignore or, in many cases, they wrongly assume cover is in place but are in fact falling foul of the law.
Operation Drive Insured Scotland took place earlier this year and received widespread media coverage across Scotland, promoting the drive insured message to the public. Scotland’s Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf MSP supported the campaign after being caught in December for driving without valid insurance in place. It was pleasing to see that he took responsibility for his actions and was willing to show how not checking insurance details can have serious consequences.
Tackling uninsured driving is also a way for police to detect other types of criminality. Last month West Midlands Police and Northamptonshire Police supported a joint ‘special constables’ operation with the Metropolitan Police during which 25 vehicles were seized for no insurance. In addition 19 other offences were detected, including for someone who was posing as a driving instructor and found to be in possession of a quantity of drugs.
The commitment and performance of police forces, despite their competing priorities, has achieved some excellent results. We’re playing our part and listening to feedback. For example, we’ve been working with Aviva and DLG on a pilot whereby our Police Helpline (PHL) agents talk directly to their fraud teams if a police officer who has pulled a vehicle over for no insurance suspects fraudulent activity in relation to the insurance details identified. The pilot is in response to police feedback and presents a number of benefits including an increase in fraud detection, greater fraud intelligence and police officers who feel better supported and listened to. It also means Aviva and DLG are able to send a strong message about fraud to their honest customers as well as anyone considering committing insurance fraud.
The police have a wide remit to help keep our communities safe. Therefore to ensure that forces up and down the country have the latest training and information about the legal requirements of Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) we have recruited Paul Bennet as MIB’s Police Support Officer (@paulbennetMIB). Paul’s role is making a real impact in improving forces’ understanding and morale in the fight against uninsured driving as he provides regular face-to-face training and tactical support and experience in running operations. Paul has trained over 500 officers to date and his informative and effective approach has been well received.
We know if we stop with this level of engagement things will go backwards, and the number of seizures will drop so we remain committed to focusing our efforts on police engagement and providing support to help take uninsured drivers off our roads.
For more information on our work with police, you can contact us through the form on our web site.
Ashton West OBE
Follow me on Twitter @AshtonWestMIB