Vehicles are recovered for a variety of reasons and the charges for recovery are legislated through statute. These charges are collected by the contracted recovery operators on behalf of the Chief Constable in each force.
Among the most common reasons for vehicle recoveries are:
- Abandoned Vehicle
A vehicle which is abandoned but is deemed not to be causing and obstruction or to be a danger to the public will be recovered by the local council. Abandoned vehicles which are dangerous or causing an obstruction will be removed by the police under section 99 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. The owner may reclaim his or her vehicle from the garage concerned upon payment of the statutory fees.
- Stolen Vehicle
ACPO guidelines state that all Stolen Vehicles should be removed to a position of safety by an approved recovery operator. The applicable legislation is section 99 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.
The removal of the vehicle is important to protect the vehicle from further theft or vandalism, to ensure it cannot be used for other criminal purposes, to prevent it from being an obstruction or danger to members of the public and protect it from possible further theft. This also prevents the vehicle from being driven whilst potentially in a dangerous condition. Safe removal also enables the police to subject it to a forensic examination in an effort to identify the person(s) responsible for its theft, also in accordance with ACPO guidelines. To collect the vehicle, the owner must pay the statutory charges to the recovery operator however, dependent upon the particular insurance policy, the insurers may cover the costs.
- Obstruction or Danger
A vehicle deemed to be causing an obstruction or a danger will be removed under the Section 99 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. The owner may reclaim his or her vehicle from the garage concerned upon payment of the statutory fees.
- Road Traffic Collision
The owner of a vehicle recovered from a Road Traffic Collision under section 99 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, may reclaim his or her vehicle from the garage concerned upon payment of the statutory fees.
However, if the vehicle could have been driven from the scene, but was required by the police for further enquiries/vehicle examination/evidence, then the charges are paid by Wiltshire Police.
- Owner Requests
If a vehicle owner does not have breakdown cover for their vehicle they can request the Police arrange recovery through one of the police vehicle scheme operators. The fees for this recovery are not regulated within the Wiltshire Police Vehicle Recovery Scheme and the costs are a matter for agreement between the recovery operator and the vehicle owner.
- No Insurance/No Licence
Vehicles seized under S165 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 are liable for statutory charges payable to the Recovery Operator as our agent. Should it be later proven that the vehicle was insured, the recovery fees will remain the responsibility of the vehicle owner as long as the seizure by the officer was justified, given the information to hand at the time. The vehicle owner may have grounds to recover the costs from his insurer.
- Police Reform Act
Under S59 of the Police Reform Act 2002 drivers of vehicles deemed to be causing distress, alarm or annoyance can have their vehicles seized if their behaviour continues following specific warning by a police officer under the legislation. The owner may reclaim his or her vehicle from the garage concerned upon payment of the statutory fees.
- Vehicles seized for Crime Enquires (Not stolen or abandoned)
Vehicles seized for crime enquiries or for evidence, do not incur statutory fees. However once the vehicle has been released and the owner been advised, the Garage holding the vehicle is entitled to levy storage fees.