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Traffic Police To Be Allowed Roadside Access To DVLA Database

By raccars Published

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A pilot scheme is set to begin in the UK, allowing police officers to check driving licence photos on the DVLA database from the roadside. Mobile devices or in car internet will allow police officers to verify the identity of drivers stopped, by checking photos against DVLA licence records.

The scheme is to be introduced as a trial run in Surrey, with a number of other police forces said to be extremely interested in the system. A trial is scheduled to be underway by the end of this year and, if successful, is expected to be expanded nationwide shortly after. Chief Constable Gary Forsyth of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), claims the system will be invaluable to help police officers ensure the correct identities of drivers they stop and will help to avoid false prosecutions.

Police officers currently have no way to check the identity of motorists in roadside stops, so drivers can, potentially, get away with giving false names. While officers have access to the police national database, this can only expose existing criminal records and is unhelpful if a false name is given. Offenders can maintain a false identity as far as court proceedings, but once the subterfuge is discovered it is often too late to track down the real offender's identity, wasting a lot of time and taxpayer funds.

The ACPO believes that allowing police officers access to the DVLA database to check licence holder photographs at the roadside will cut out the possibility of attempting to prosecute a false identity. If police officers find the photo record held by the DVLA database does not match the name and face in front of them, they can take immediate action. Drivers will be given the opportunity to give their true identity or can be charged with another offence in the form of giving a false identity to police.

The ACPO says that a number of police forces were keen to be chosen for the pilot scheme and that it is hoping the DVLA will have a system in place to allow national roll out by the end of the year. Critics of the programme suggest that photos can be easily mistaken and that bio-metrics should be included in the checks for safety.

The vast majority of UK licence holders have now submitted a photo to the DVLA for use in a photocard licence, although there remains a small number of British drivers who retain a paper licence only.

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