A ground-breaking operation to dramatically reduce uninsured driving has been hailed at the Police Federation's Roads Policing Conference in Hinckley, Leicestershire.
Operation Tutelage, a joint operation by Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Constabulary, led by Inspector Simon Hills, was named the winner of this year’s Outstanding Contribution to Roads Policing Award at a gala dinner tonight, Tuesday 29 January.
It utilises number-plate recognition technology to detect uninsured vehicles and compare against a database. A letter is then sent to the registered keeper asking them to rectify the situation and has resulted in a staggering 80% drop in uninsured drivers in the two counties.
Inspector Hills, who has been the driving force behind Tutelage, said: “We know that there is upwards of a million uninsured vehicles on our roads. By taking this neighbourhood approach, we find that the vast majority of those we write to will take positive action to rectify their policy or take out a new policy.
“The 20% that don’t, will go onto our enforcement database. They are typically our burglars, drink drivers and disqualified drivers and targeting them becomes far more efficient. This is because instead of trying to enforce against a million vehicles, we’re able to narrow this down to 200,000 and potentially narrow it even further.
“I am delighted that other forces are adopting Tutelage and we now have a spread from Scotland to Lands’ End - and those who follow the same processes that we have are also seeing that 80% success rate.”
Some 14,000 letters have been issued on behalf of Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police Joint Operations Unit since March 2017, resulting in 12,000 recipients taking action to insure their vehicles. In addition 750 drivers who did not comply have had their vehicles seized.
Inspector Hills’ outstanding work in devising and promoting Operation Tutelage over the last 18 months has been phenomenal – he implemented the highly effective operation while maintaining his day to day commitments and has made a significant impact to road safety.
Also recognised at the Awards was runner-up, PC David Cotterill of Dorset Police – who has an outstanding record for arresting drug-drivers. In 2018 he was personally responsible for 292 such arrests – making up 42% of Dorset Police's total for the year. This is all the more impressive as the Dorset force is ranked third in the country for drug arrests. David has also taken countless vehicles off the road for no insurance, driving licences or being un-roadworthy.
In third place were Sergeants Gerard Farley and Philip Davis of Merseyside Police, and Station Manager Francis Hill of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service. After attending a fatal road incident, they created a training video to assist emergency services in responding to future incidents, with a focus on saving lives and ensuring the capture of best evidence.
Find out more about the Roads Policing Conference