Operation Tutelage is a joint initiative between the Police and the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) and is aimed at reducing the number of uninsured vehicles on our roads.
Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) is used to identify uninsured vehicles and owners are sent a letter advising them to remedy the situation before further action is taken.
Sergeant Simon Drewett from the Road Safety and Collision investigation Unit said, "The consequences of driving an uninsured vehicle can be significant. For the offending driver, it can result in a fine, loss of a Driving Licence or Disqualification together with all of the ramifications that fall out of this such as loss of income, occupation, a home or even an ability to travel overseas.
"For those on the receiving end of uninsured drivers, it can however result in dire consequences... from significant financial loss through the loss of a vehicle to having to deal with a very uncertain future at a time when those injured out of a collision most need support. Every Insurance Policy also contains a surcharge to cover the uninsured, so the law abiding are penalised to cover an unlawful and often conscious act by others."
The correlation between driving an uninsured vehicle and its use in other criminality is well proven. Whilst the figures for Wiltshire remain below the national average, some 1.5% of vehicles are still uninsured. On a registration base of over 600,000 this equates to some 10,000 vehicles across the county.
A twelve month trial across Wiltshire saw almost 1200 owners contacted. Analysis has shown that over 70% of these vehicles were re-insured within days... with a further 10% subsequently scrapped and another 10% subsequently seized by Officers under s.165 powers.
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Jerry Herbert spent some time with our ANPR team last week whilst out installing a new camera in the South of the County. He said, "The use of ANPR is proven to be important in the detection of many offences, including locating stolen vehicles, tackling uninsured vehicle use, assisting with counter terrorism, missing people, major and organised crimes.
"It allows officers' attention to be drawn to offending vehicles whilst allowing law abiding drivers to go about their business unhindered. The use of ANPR cameras is necessary to protect the public, reduce crime and improve road safety."
Operation Tutelage went national at the start of 2020. To date, almost 1,000 vehicles from Wiltshire have now been submitted to the new national scheme.