Reasons why vehicles are seized

Vehicles can be seized for the following reasons:

Careless driving

  • A person committing this offence whilst using the vehicle in an anti-social manner is liable to prosecution for the offence AND may be warned that the vehicle used in the offence (or any other vehicle they use) could be seized if they commit another such offence. If it is not practical to give a warning a vehicle may be seized without one under section 59 of the Police Reform Act of 2002.

Unlicensed drivers

  • A uniformed officer requires a person to produce his/her driving licence and its counterpart (if applicable) for examination if requested.
  • If the person fails to produce them, and the officer has reasonable grounds for believing a motor vehicle is or was being driven by the person other than in accordance with a driving licence for that class of vehicle, the vehicle will be seized.

Uninsured drivers

  • A uniformed officer requires a person to produce evidence that a motor vehicle is not or was not being driven without a valid certificate of insurance to cover its use.
  • If the person fails to produce such evidence, and the officer has reasonable grounds for believing the vehicle is or was being driven without a valid certificate of insurance to cover its use, the vehicle will be seized.

Drivers who fail to stop

  • A uniformed officer requires a person driving a motor vehicle to stop the vehicle when requested.
  • If the person fails to stop the vehicle when requested, or fails to stop the vehicle long enough, the vehicle could be seized.
  • This also applies to drivers who stop but then make off on foot.

Obstruction or Dangerous to Other Road Users

  • Attending officers will give the driver a reasonable time to remove their vehicle if it is causing an obstruction; if not the vehicle could be recovered.

For Use as Evidence

  • Under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) police can recover any evidence at a crime scene.

Road Tax Offences

  • Our role involves only the seizing of the vehicle and giving of a DVLA leaflet explaining how to get the vehicle back. We do not get involved in the release of the vehicle, as this is dealt with by the vehicle recovery company involved.

Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN)

  • In addition to untaxed seizures, the DVLA powers allow officers to seize vehicles seen driven on a road that have been declared as SORN.

Foreign-Registered Vehicles (FRVs)

The powers also allow officers to seize FRVs when they have been driven on a publically maintained road and have either:

  • Been in the UK for longer than 6 months (visiting, on holiday, etc).
  • Or if the driver/owner is a resident in the UK, then the 6 months does not apply and the vehicle must be registered, taxed and insured in the UK before it can be driven. There may be exemption to this in the case of foreign students.