§ Mr. Warren
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the results of the campaign during May by the police in Surrey and Sussex with the assistance of his Department against excise duty evasion by motor vehicle owners.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
Nearly 2,000 motorists were reported for not having a current road fund licence on display. These cases are being investigated; where it is clear that vehicle excise duty has been evaded, those responsible will be prosecuted.
Special VED enforcement campaigns run jointly by Department of Transport and police forces form an important addition to the day-to-day VED enforcement activities. They have proved very effective in encouraging people to relicense their vehicles voluntarily as well as in catching the more determined evaders. A period of two weeks of extensive local publicity is followed by a further two weeks in which the police concentrate on identifying and reporting those who have ignored the warnings. Evaders caught during campaigns are not given the opportunity to settle out of court.
The policy find that campaigns help them to detect many other offences including lack of insurance and MOT certificates, disqualifications, unroadworthy vehicles and occasionally more serious crimes.