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UK’s DVLA and Home Office launches new tech for police roadside checks

By Tech Monitor

UK’s DVLA and Home Office launches new tech to instantly check drivers’ identities at the roadside. Credit: Ashley Harkness on Unsplash

The UK’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and the Home Office have developed a new technology for police officers to instantly check drivers’ identities at the roadside.

This new technology will allow the police officers dealing with motoring offences around the UK to get instant access to the photographs of drivers held on DVLA’s driver database to check the identities of lawbreakers at the roadside.

It will allow the officers to confirm the correct identity of a driver instantly in the case of motoring offences.

Currently, 18 police forces including Surrey, Sussex, Leicestershire, Scotland and South Yorkshire are using the system. Plans are on to expand the roll-out to ten more police forces in the coming weeks.

According to the DVLA, without access to the technology, the roadside checks can take up to 16 minutes as officers need to validate the details given by a driver.

In some cases, drivers suspected of motoring offence are arrested and the checks are carried out at the police station.

Approximately 86,513 driver licence images have been checked by police support from the launch of a pilot project in August 2019.

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The new technology works through the police officer searching the Police National Computer (PNC) to obtain the driving licence number, which is a unique identifier that helps guarantee that the correct image will be accessed from the DVLA record.

This allows the officers to obtain the image associated with the driving licence and check if it matches with the driver.

These images are only accessible during the enquiry and are not retained, with the DVLA data usage restricted to roads policing.

National Law Enforcement Data Programme (NLEDP) director Steve Thomson said: “Working in partnership, the Home Office, policing and DVLA are showcasing new functionality demonstrating how we can provide access to integrated information by working across suppliers, departments and police forces.

“The service is delivering tangible operational benefits to policing and to the public and in future, the Law Enforcement Data Service (LEDS), will provide an enhanced suite of products and capabilities to support modern policing.”

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