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by Sam Trendall
21 July 2021
New DVLA digital system allows police to instantly check drivers’ identity

Traffic on a motorway - Image credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/PA Images

New DVLA digital system allows police to instantly check drivers’ identity

A new digital system allows police officers to near-instantly check drivers’ identities at the roadside.

The technology, developed by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), enables officers to use a mobile device to rapidly search the Police National Computer to obtain information on a motorist’s driving licence number.

This can then be used to search the DVLA databases to obtain the photo linked to the number – enabling police to ascertain whether a driver has provided accurate information and genuine documents.

Images are only available to officers on the scene and are not stored on their device.

Before the introduction of the technology, which is already in use by Police Scotland and 17 other forces around the UK, these checks took approximately 16 minutes.

The system has already been used to check the identity of almost 90,000 motorists, saving a cumulative total of more than 14,000 hours, the DVLA said, which has resulted in “more time for patrolling, supporting investigations and community work”. 

The agency’s chief executive Julie Lennard said: “As a digital organisation we are always looking at ways to bring technological developments into the public domain – providing improvements that can directly benefit citizens.

“The ability to support quicker and more robust roadside checks for motoring offences through the better use of technology is something we were pleased to help deliver.”

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