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Uninsured Drivers Targeted in West Mercia Police Operation

Operation Tutelage is an initiative to remove uninsured vehicles from the roads of West Mercia.

Using existing automated systems to see if vehicles are insured, registered owners of uninsured vehicles will be identified and contacted by letter, with three weeks to rectify the issue or face further action.

The operation will free officers from conducting physical checks and time consuming recovery of vehicles and enquiries into insurance statuses, enabling them to respond to other incidents.
Op Tutelage was initially trialled in Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Police areas and showed a statistically proven, positive result.
In these areas, over a four month period, approximately 2,400 'no insurance' notifications were sent out and when these vehicles were checked three weeks later, 80% of them were found to be subsequently insured.

The letter sent out to uninsured vehicle owners explained that there were a number of reasons for the vehicles not being shown as having insurance including a new policy which has yet to be updated on the system, a change of policy details yet to be updated, an administrative error with the policy or because a policy has expired. The letter also reassures owners that at this stage it is not a notice of intended prosecution.

Inspector Nick Doyle from North Worcestershire is leading the introduction of Op Tutelage across West Mercia. He said that statistics from the Motor Insurers Bureau and other forces indicate the following in relation to uninsured drivers -

  • Uninsured driving costs at least £250 million per annum
  • Uninsured drivers are 3 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision** In 60% of vehicles seized, the driver has a criminal record
  • Uninsured drivers are 10 times likely to have a drink drive conviction
  • Uninsured drivers are 6 times more likely to have a defective vehicle
  • The average fine an uninsured driver receives at court is £301.00, six points on their licence and a recovery fee of £150 (plus £20 per day storage)
  • 130 people die each year through uninsured driving (5 times the recorded death rate of using mobile phone)

Inspector Doyle added: "Our aim is to make roads in the West Mercia Policing area safer for our communities by dramatically reducing the number of uninsured vehicles being used. This will be achieved through a combination of tactics including awareness, education and ultimately targeted enforcement."

*Driving without insurance carries a fixed penalty of £300 and six penalty points at the roadside. If the matter goes to court it is an obligatory endorsement of 6 to 8 points, a discretionary disqualification and an unlimited fine.


Issued: 3:30pm, 3 January, Daniel Butler, Corporate Communications.

Published 03/01/18