MORE than 200 vehicles, including high performance cars, have been seized by officers in east Birmingham during their month-long clampdown on uninsured motorists.
Amongst the 215 vehicle seizures are a 12-plate Bentley Cabriolet, a 12-plate Mercedes which has been returned to a finance company, a Ferrari, a bulldozer, a recovery truck and an ice cream van.
Supported by traffic officers, Birmingham East Police launched Operation Piranha which aimed to remove uninsured and unlicensed drivers from the roads.
During the first week alone, 61 vehicles were seized for having no insurance or not possessing the correct driving licence.
The operation has also proved a clear link between uninsured drivers and criminal activity. 74 per cent of the individuals stopped for no insurance had previous convictions and 24 people were arrested.
Sergeant Pete Rawlins, who led the June/July operation, said: “The communities of east Birmingham told us they are fed up with the issue of uninsured drivers on our roads. Most drivers have correct insurance and have to suffer spiralling premiums as a result of those who ignore legal requirements.
“There is a clear link between uninsured drivers and criminal activity. Uninsured drivers also pose a real risk as research shows they are more likely to be involved in road traffic accidents and also less likely to have their vehicles in a roadworthy condition.
“We will continue to tackle this important issue, leaving drivers who are ignoring legal requirements with nowhere to hide.”
The 24 arrests made by officers were for a variety of offences such possession of class A drugs with intent to supply, taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent and possession of an offensive weapon.
Individuals wanted for theft, disqualified driving, public order offences and assault were also detained.[pullquote_right]
One woman even made a false and malicious 999 call in an attempt to divert officers away from her husband’s uninsured car.[/pullquote_right]In an effort to avoid having her husband’s car seized by police, one woman in Balsall Heath attempted to distract officers by making a false call emergency call. She called 999 to report a firearms incident nearby to divert attention away from her husband and his car. Consequentially she received a fine for making a false and malicious call and he still had his car seized.
According to the latest data (2008-2010 figures) released by the MIB, 11 of the UK’s top 20 uninsured hotspots are in the West Midlands Region, with an estimated 5.87 per cent out of 1,766,980 vehicles not being insured.
The east Birmingham area (constituencies of Hodge Hill, Yardley and Hall Green) occupy five out of the top twenty “UK hotspot ranking” postal districts, including Bordesley (B9), Small Heath (B10) and Saltley (B8).
You can view a short video about Operation Piranha with interviews from Superintendent Alex Murray and Sergeant Peter Rawlins below. Please note, for our external readers, that these films are only available to view internally by West Midlands Police officers and staff.