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Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001

Part 3: Other Provisions Relating to Vehicle Crime

Section 32: Vehicle Licence Applications

45.Section 32 amends section 7 of the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 to enable the Secretary of State to specify documents and other evidence which must be produced in support of a vehicle excise licence application.  Corresponding amendments are also made to section 22 of the 1994 Act in relation to nil licences.

Section 33: Vehicle Identity Checks

46.The main intention of this section is to require a compulsory vehicle identity check of any ‘written-off’, scrapped vehicle, prior to the issue of replacement registration documents to the vehicle keeper.

47.The purpose of the vehicle identity check is to help prevent a criminal from swapping the identity of a vehicle he has stolen with that of a written-off or scrapped vehicle ("ringing").

48.Section 33 inserts new regulation-making powers after section 22 of the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 (registration regulations).  They ensure that the Secretary of State:

  • can refuse to issue a registration document in respect of a vehicle if he is not satisfied that the vehicle is the registered vehicle; and

  • can make regulations to provide for the examination of vehicles for the purpose of ascertaining whether they are the registered vehicles.

49.Section 33 also ensures that the vehicle identity check regime can apply to the issue of new registration documents in place of surrendered documents.

Section 34: Registration Plates

50.This section provides for the inclusion of additional information to be held on registration plates. It provides a power to make regulations to prescribe the form and manner in which such information may be held.  The purpose of this provision is to enable the Secretary of State to prescribe that registration plates should contain information that would link the registration plate to the vehicle for which it is intended, making the registration plate more secure and difficult to copy.

Sections 35 and 36: Information Requirements

51.Section 35 enables regulations to be made obliging scrap metal dealers registered under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 to notify specified persons if they finally dispose of a motor vehicle.  The intention is to ensure that the DVLA are notified of such destructions, with the aim of preventing the re-registration of a stolen motor vehicle which has been given the destroyed motor vehicle’s identity.  The provision mirrors the provision in section 8 applying to registered motor salvage operators.

52.Section 36 will have the effect of enabling the police to have bulk access to an insurance industry database which will help them to detect people driving without insurance.

Sections 37 and 38: Miscellaneous

53.Section 37 amends a time limit in the Theft Act 1968 so that proceedings relating to the unauthorised taking of a mechanically propelled vehicle may be commenced at any time within six months from the date on which sufficient evidence to bring a prosecution came to the knowledge of the prosecutor.  It is subject to a general requirement that any prosecution must be brought within three years of the offence taking place.

54.Section 38 allows the Secretary of State to make payments to public authorities in respect of their expenditure on the prevention and detection of speed and red light offences and on enforcement action relating to such offences.  This will in turn, with the agreement of the Treasury, enable money from fixed penalties for such offences to be recycled to fund such future prevention, detection and enforcement activities.  In practice this will enable resources to be directed towards the installation and use of safety cameras.

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