Day 209 - West Midlands Police - Uninsured vehicles seized
This photo shows just one of the high performance sports cars seized for having no insurance by police in east Birmingham.
Drive without car insurance and you're likely to get caught.
That's the clear message from police in east Birmingham after seizing 215 cars during their July clampdown on uninsured motorists.
Amongst the vehicle seizures are a 12-plate Bentley Cabriolet, a 12-plate Mercedes which has been returned to a finance company, a Ferrari, a bulldozer, a recovery truck and an ice cream van.
Supported by officers from the force's traffic department, Birmingham East police launched a month-long operation aimed at removing uninsured and unlicensed drivers from the roads.
During the first week alone, 61 vehicles were seized for having no insurance or not possessing the correct driving licence.
Police have also proved there's a clear link between uninsured drivers and criminal activity. 74 per cent of the individuals stopped for no insurance had previous convictions and 24 people were arrested.
Throughout the operation, daily enforcement activity by local officers was complemented by a series of day-long operations. Traffic teams, work alongside colleagues from Birmingham East police, focused automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology in hotspot locations.
Sergeant Pete Rawlins, who led the month-long operation, said: "The communities of east Birmingham are fed-up with the issue of uninsured drivers on our roads. Most drivers have correct insurance and have to suffer spiralling premiums as a result of those who ignore legal requirements.
"There is a clear link between uninsured drivers and criminal activity. Uninsured drivers also pose a real risk as research shows they are more likely to be involved in road traffic accidents and also less likely to have their vehicles in a roadworthy condition.
"Although the number of claims involving uninsured vehicles has fallen over the last few years and we've had significant success removing uninsured vehicles from the road, we're not about to become complacent.
"We will continue to tackle this important issue, leaving drivers who are ignoring legal requirements with nowhere to hide."
The 24 arrests made by officers were for a variety of offences such possession of class A drugs with intent to supply, taking a vehicle without the owner's consent and possession of an offensive weapon.
Individuals wanted for theft, disqualified driving, public order offences and assault were also detained.
In an effort to avoid having her husband's car seized by police, one woman in Balsall Heath attempted to distract officers by making a false call emergency call. She called 999 to report a firearms incident nearby to divert attention away from her husband and his car. Consequentially she received a fine for making a false and malicious call – and he still had his car seized.
Once an uninsured vehicle is seized by police, the motorists could face having their vehicle crushed if they can't provide police with proof of insurance.
Along with having their vehicle removed, they could also be hit with six penalty points on their licence, and pay a minimum of £150 costs for recovery and storage.
According to data sourced by the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB), uninsured drivers kill 160 people and injure 23,000 every year. They also create an extra financial burden for other motorists, by adding around £30 a year to every honest motorist's insurance premium, amounting to more than £500m a year in costs to the UK.
Drivers can check their own vehicle is correctly recorded by checking the Motor Insurance Database (MID) by visiting www.askMID.com. The MID holds the insurance records of over 34 million vehicles and is used by the police and DVLA to enforce the law.
According to the latest data (2008-2010 figures) released by the MIB, 11 of the UK's top 20 uninsured hotspots are in the West Midlands Region, with an estimated 5.87 per cent out of 1,766,980 vehicles not being insured.
The east Birmingham area (constituencies of Hodge Hill, Yardley and Hall Green) occupy five out of the top twenty 'UK hotspot ranking' postal districts, including Bordesley (B9), Small Heath (B10) and Saltley (B8). For more information about this data can be found by following this link.
The seizure figures and arrest total relate to 18 June 2012 until 15 July 2012. The average number of seizures for no insurance or driving licence is eight per day in east Birmingham.