Crack Down on Illegal Road Users in Bexley

Monday, 22 March, 2010

As part of a South London road traffic operation last week, 32 vehicles were removed from the streets of Bexley in a major crack down on uninsured vehicles and unlicensed drivers.

Officers from six London Boroughs and Merton Traffic Tasking Team took part in the four week. Called Operation Reclaim, it aimed to improve road safety by tackling uninsured drivers and motorists not driving in accordance with their licence.

The boroughs included Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth.

The operation started in Croydon on 22nd February 2010 and ended in Bexley on Thursday 18th March. A total of 231 vehicles were seized and 315 drivers were reported for traffic related offences such as driving whilst using a mobile phone, no MOT and not wearing a seat belt. Officers also arrested 18 people for a variety of offences including fraud, deception, robbery, disqualified driving and someone wanted in connection with a sexual assault.

Over three days in Bexley, between 16th and 18th March, as well as seizing 32 vehicles, 60 drivers were reported for driving offences and two arrests were made for immigration matters when the team set up a police check point in Upper Wickham Lane, Welling.

Merton Borough Detective Inspector Mike Parker who led the operation on behalf of the six boroughs said, "There are too many motorists who feel they can drive without a licence or insurance and who present a real danger to pedestrians and all road users. If drivers are found with no insurance, they face a fine of £200 and six points will be added to their licence."

Mike Parker added, "With the overwhelming support of members of the public, we set out to tackle the problem, make our roads safer and seize vehicles from motorists who flout the law by driving on our roads illegally. An example of this is a driver we stopped in Bexley Borough who had not had a valid driving licence since 1985 and a disqualified driver who had 26 points on his licence."

During the operation the officers used Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to scan vehicle registrations to check them against information stored on the Police National Computer and other databases such as those of the DVLA and the Motor Insurers Bureau. Officers are instantly alerted if the vehicle is of interest to police, such as stolen cars and those involved in crime.

Bexley Borough Commander Glyn Jones said, "Criminals rely on vehicles to travel through the borough and commit crime and ANPR has proven its worth many times in disrupting the activities of criminals. The technology can not only help us tackle road safety, but is highly effective in assisting us to enforce the law, prevent and detect crime."

The operation was supported by UK Border Agency officers who made two arrests for immigration offences when two vehicles were stopped in Welling. Both people were granted immigration bail pending their removal from the country.

Gagan Bajwa, Head of the Bexley Local Immigration Team said, "We are happy to
work with law enforcement partners like the Metropolitan Police on operations like this, with the aim of making our streets safer."

The seized vehicles were loaded onto car transporters and removed to Charlton Car Pound. Owners have to pay £150 to recover their vehicle, plus a storage fee of £20 per day. Drivers can only collect their vehicle when they can prove they have taken out insurance. Cars not collected from the pound after a week are sold or scrapped.

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