Road Tax

I’ve just had a briefing from a local police officer, which is generally really useful. It shows the actions they have taken against a number of road criminals in Coventry over the weekend.

However, the term “road tax” was also used, and I’ve asked them nicely not to do so in future. This is why:

The briefing:

11 Cars Seized Nine Stop Searches and One Foot Chase In Busy Day of Proactive Roads Policing

We seized 11 cars, stopped and searched a further nine and chased a passenger down who fled their vehicle during a packed day policing the roads last weekend.

Officers across Coventry launched the proactive operation in a crackdown on crime on Saturday (10 April).

It followed complaints from residents in the local communities around vehicles being driven in an antisocial manner, driving at speed or simply ignoring the rules that everyone has to abide by.

To tackle the issues, local neighbourhood policing units joined with traffic and warrants officers for the intelligence-led day of action, which used Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to identify and intercept vehicles potentially involved in criminality.

The vehicles were brought back to check sites on Napier Street and at the Moat House Leisure Centre, where we conducted checks. Traffic officers were also out and about looking for suspect vehicles.
Partner agencies including the DVLA assisted with the operation, identifying areas where vehicles were without road tax.

A total of 43 vehicles were stopped, including 11 which were seized for having no insurance and tickets were issued to two different drivers for not wearing seat belts.

Nine cars were searched on suspicion of drugs offences, resulting in four people being given community resolutions for possession of Class B drugs.

One passenger attempted to run after officers pulled the car over, however he was detained after a short foot chase and on being searched was found to have cannabis on him and given a community resolution.
PS Dave Moore, from Henley and Longford Neighbourhood Policing Unit, said: “This operation was in response to concerns voiced within the community. We will continue listening to our local communities and taking action against issues that affect them the most.

“We want to make Coventry feel a safe place to live and work. Our officers and partner agencies helped make this proactive operation a success and we will continue to look at ways we can crackdown on criminal activity.”


My reply

Many thanks for this important update.

Do you mind me asking how often this important work is done, because clearly a lot of road criminals have quite rightly been apprehended?


I witness road crime every few minutes whenever I am out on the roads in this city, ranging from tailgating and driving at speeds which are inappropriate to the conditions, through the ubiquitous attempts to drive a car whilst texting and then the more serious stuff like completely insane speeding and actual threats of violence made against vulnerable road users.

Do you mind me also asking that the term “road tax” is replaced with VED or car tax in future briefings? Road tax was abolished in 1937, and usage of the term implies that drivers are paying for the roads, which they do not. Roads are funded from general taxation, and everyone has an equal right to use them safely.

Best wishes,

James Avery

Their reply (less than 24 hours later)

Good morning James,

Thank you for getting in touch and for outlining the important issues raised in your email.

As a minimum the Road Harm Prevention Team are over in Coventry at least twice per month conducting ANPR and road safety operations.

Local area neighbourhood teams are also looking to do similar operations on a monthly basis in Coventry.

Our traffic officers support this type of work as and when they are requested, including the recent ANPR day of action on Saturday (10 April).

We have taken note of the term ‘road tax’ being replaced with VED or car tax for future reference.

I’d call that a result. For some, this might seem trivial, but the term should never be used, unless it is explaining why it’s a common myth.

Second Update

This has also just come through from the local team. The details about the planning which is needed for ANPR operations are also very useful:

Good Afternoon Mr Avery,

Apologises for the delay in replying I have been on rest days.

Thank you for taking the time to reply.  ANPR operations are unfortunately jobs that require some planning so there are not as many as we would like.  There are other operational needs that we have to take into consideration.  Having said that we do have regular Traffic Units in the City looking for those who are doing wrong.  We also try and run operations with our safer travel teams to target the phone use and this includes tactics such as officers sitting on buses and monitoring the traffic flow.

With regard to the term road tax, it is something that we will try to take on board and appreciate how the language can be therefore interpreted differently due to this.  There was definitely no intention to alienate any road users.

If I can help you with anything else please come back to me.

Kind Regards


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