Uninsured drivers are being targeted by a hi-tech car thanks to a partnership between the police and an insurance firm.
Hampshire Constabulary has received sponsorship cash from Ageas to fund the purchase of a BMW 1 series.
In the challenging financial climate, this partnership with Ageas enables us to make sensible and effective use of public money
It comes as Hampshire had the second-highest number of offenders caught driving without insurance in England last year.
The car is fitted with automatic number plate recognition to identify uninsured drivers.
Inspector Andy Tester praised the scheme and said the car was a useful ‘policing tool’ that gives value for the taxpayer.
He said: ‘Uninsured drivers are often higher risk motorists. They often drive uninsured because they can’t get insurance or they don’t want to pay the fees and that’s often because they do pose a higher risk to the travelling public.
‘We’re often interested in them because someone who chooses to drive uninsured is often committing other offences, sometimes more serious offences around licensing and other types of criminality.’
The car will have a minimum three-year lifespan.
At the end of the partnership any residual value will revert to the police.
In total 2,742 uninsured drivers were caught by Hampshire police last year.
Ageas said such drivers pose a significant risk to motorists across the country and are estimated to cause 120 deaths and more than 29,000 injuries per year.
The firm added the annual cost of claims incurred connected to those drivers is estimated at £400m a year. .
Adam Clarke, underwriting director at Ageas said: ‘The danger of uninsured driving is apparent for all motorists, be it on the road or in their premiums.
‘We’re pleased to be able to partner with Hampshire police to provide a brand new vehicle equipped with the latest technology.
‘This will reduce the risk those who drive without insurance pose to honest drivers and pedestrians.’
Insp Tester added: ‘We’re pleased to be working with Ageas to jointly raise the profile of the fight against uninsured driving.’
The car will be used by the RPU for a full range of calls and operate in both the Hampshire and Thames Valley Police areas.
He added: ‘In the challenging financial climate, this partnership with Ageas enables us to make sensible and effective use of public money.’
Ashton West, chief executive of the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, which compensates the victims of uninsured drivers, added: “This is a great initiative from one of our member companies and one we applaud.’