The West Midlands has been named as the worst place for vehicle seizures in the UK after the police reportedly seized 24,514 vehicles.
National Scrap Car submitted an FOI to all 45 police forces in the UK and collated the data from the 26 responses they received.
The results revealed approximately 196,817 vehicles were impounded by the police in the UK, with uninsured/ untaxed vehicles, road traffic collisions and stolen vehicles being the most common causes for the forces to take action.
The West Midlands saw the highest number of vehicle seizures with a colossal 24,514, followed by West Yorkshire with 19,635 seized vehicles and Lancashire with 14,744.
Dorry Potter, car expert at National Scrap Car commented:
“There are multiple reasons why the police can take a vehicle, whether it has been used in a crime, abandoned, considered a nuisance or rise, or if the vehicle is uninsured or untaxed.
“Once a vehicle has been impounded by the police, some vehicles are returned to their owners while others are sold at auction and others are scrapped. This all depends on the state of the vehicle, along with whether the original owner of the vehicle can be contacted.
“By conducting this study we wished to find out what parts of the country had the highest volume of impounded vehicles, along with the main reasons behind why so many vehicles are kept in car pounds up and down the country.”
The data revealed that 56% of the reported seized vehicles were returned to their owners, however a fifth of these vehicles ended up being destroyed and a further 10,463 (5%) vehicles were sold at auction.
According to Crimerate, the West Midlands is the second most dangerous region in England. The overall crime rate in the West Midlands was 98 crimes per 1,000 people and vehicle crime accounted for 7.7% of the total crime statistics. In fact, 22% of their seized vehicles were reported as stolen vehicles.
The most common reason for a vehicle to be impounded across the UK was due to the vehicle having no insurance or legal licence, which means the vehicle does not abide by Section 165 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
You are required by law to hold a full, valid driving licence, with the only exception being learner drivers who hold provisional licences. Additionally, under motoring law, anyone using a vehicle on the road or another public place must have valid insurance against third party risks. This includes vehicles which are merely parked on public roads and not being driven.
Drivers who don’t abide by these laws can face fines, driving bans and in the case here, see their vehicles seized.
54,726 vehicles were impounded for having no insurance or licence, with the highest volume in the West Midlands with 8,010 vehicles seized in the 12 month period.
The second most common reason is road traffic collisions with 47,031 incidents leading to vehicle seizures. Dundee had the highest number of incidents with 8,012 cars possessed by the police in that period.
In these events, the cars are typically seized because they’re no longer in a road-worthy state following the accident, or are being kept as evidence by the police. An additional 2,007 vehicles were seized in this period due to serious or fatal accidents.