The Metropolitan Police has reached a landmark in its fight against uninsured drivers on London roads by seizing its 100,000th vehicle since the launch of Operation Cubo.
Operation Cubo was started in 2011 with hundreds of officers targeting motorists in the capital for driving illegally over the past three years using tech such as ANPR. It’s not just cheap runarounds that get caught either with luxury vehicles commonly picked up. Over the past year a McLaren, Bentley and Lamborghini have all been stopped and taken by traffic cops.
More unusually a 72-tonne crane – valued at £1 million – was seized in Belgravia in January 2012 for being driven without a licence or insurance. The crane was seized and the driver given three points and a fixed penalty notice.
Punishment ranges from a minimum £200 and points on your licence up to a full driving ban. After the uninsured vehicle has been seized, it’ll be crushed - but pricier models are sold at auction if the owner doesn’t get insurance and reclaim the car. A quarter of the 100,000 cars seized have been scrapped or auctioned so far. The money from any sale goes directly back into policing with £5.5 million ploughed directly back into the Met.
The success of Cubo can be measured by the Motor Insurer’s Bureau rankings, which in 2009, listed three London postcodes (E6, E7 and E12) as being in the top 20 worst UK areas for uninsured driving. In 2013, that figured had dropped to just one – N18.
MPS Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: “Doing more to target illegal road use was one of my first priorities when I came back to the Met. We have achieved great results with more than 100,000 vehicles seized and more than 2,700 suspects arrested.
“Not only are uninsured drivers five times more likely to be involved in a road collision and increase other drivers’ insurance premiums, many more are likely to be involved in criminal activity. By seizing their vehicles and denying them the use of our roads we are reclaiming London for responsible road users.”
Under Operation Cubo, arrests have been made for a range of offences including rape, possession of illegal firearms, money laundering and drugs. Firearms, other weapons and large quantities of cash and drugs have also been recovered.
Sir Bernard added: “Seventy per cent of people who drive uninsured cars are convicted criminals. We need to continue to put them under pressure in our total war on crime.”