West Midlands Police will be the first in the UK to use new powers to seize uninsured vehicles after the implementation of a car tracking application.
By using the Easy-Link Vehicle Information System (Elvis) from WPC Software, the UK's second largest police force will take back in house the management of its seized vehicles. It will extend its capacity in preparation for 1 September, when all UK police forces will gain the power to impound uninsured vehicles.
Previously the AA held the contract to manage the 30,000 vehicles apprehended by West Midlands Police every year.
Head of traffic at West Midlands Police, Gary Bullock, said, "The police now have powers to seize all these vehicles as well. We will seize another 10,000 vehicles a year."
The vehicles currently apprehended by West Midlands Police come from four different sources. Stolen vehicles make up the largest proportion; broken down vehicles fall into the second largest category. Burnt-out vehicles and vehicles that are being used to cause anti-social behaviour are also seized by the police.
Vehicles abandoned by the side of the road may be collected by the police. Local authorities, however, rather than individual forces are currently responsible for seizing abandoned vehicles. Birmingham City Council picks up about 15,000 a year.
WPC's Elvis-VR (vehicle recovery) application has been developed to integrate with a national insurance database to enable the police to identify uninsured vehicles. The database, which will contain every UKdriver's insurance details, has yet to be built. West Midlands Police hopes it will have 98% accuracy when the application is integrated with Elvis-VR in the autumn.
The application will also be integrated with the Police National Computer so that any crimes that the vehicle has been identified with can be spotted swiftly.
Elvis-VR has only been implemented at police stations so far. It will go live with all the garages that the force uses to repair seized vehicles from 1 January.
Garages that compete for the Force's work will be required to maintain an internet connection. They will also be required to keep information about each vehicle up to date so users of Elvis-VR at police stations will be able to discover how close the vehicle is to being repaired.
The application was written using Active Server Pages and was built in the .net Framework. Because most police forces use either Oracle or SQL Server, Elvis-VR has been developed to work with both. Network administrators can use one setting to make the application work with either database.