VIC check review

Is identity scheme 'unnecessary burden on motorists'?

Car ringing

Published:  20 July, 2012

TRANSPORT Minister Mike Penning has put the future of the Vehicle Identity Check (VIC Check) scheme under review.

The DfT stated that the reason for the review was that since the introduction of the scheme in 2003, only 38 cars have been confirmed as 'ringers'. The Department estimated the costs to motorists as some £30 million - or roughly £900,000 per 'ringer'.

The purpose of the VIC scheme is to deter the crime of vehicle ringing. Typically, this involves the theft of a car often of significant value, which is then given the identity of a similar car (make, model, colour etc) which has been the subject of an insurance write-off. The written-off car is obtained cheaply; its identity (VIN and registration numbers) is then transferred to a higher value stolen car which, now apparently genuine, can be sold at market price.

Since the introduction of the VIC scheme in April 2003, around 717,000 checks have been undertaken and 38 confirmed "ringers" detected, at a cost of around £30m to the motorist. About 75% of the checks were undertaken on cars which were 7 years or older, written-off because the cost of even small repairs was greater than the very low market value of the vehicle, often meaning that the cost of the check fell on people struggling to put an old car back on the road.

However, the scheme, coupled with ELV certificates issued by vehicle dismantlers proved to be a powerful deterrent against car cloning, and one which the police would like to see retained. Speaking about the review, Mike Penning commented: "I intend to consult on whether to retain, re-scope or abolish the scope of the VIC scheme in a move to explore whether fewer vehicles can be checked in the future in order to remove unnecessary burden on law-abiding citizens, without jeopardising prevention of vehicle ringing."

The consultation documents can be found on the DfT's website.

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