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Crime & Punishment of Friday, 9 January 2015


'Only police inspectors are qualified to seize drivers’ licenses'

Head of Education Research and Training at the Motor Transport and Traffic Unit (MTTU), DSP Alexander Obeng has said it is unlawful for any police officer to seize the license of a driver unless they are or above the rank of an inspector.

He said any other police officer who does this will be violating the law and that “only inspectors are qualified to seize licenses from drivers.”

Speaking on Adom FM’s morning show, the DSP said drivers should be bold enough and ask any policeman who wants to seize their licenses what their rank is before handing it over because it is their right.

He said any driver who is arrested for flouting any road traffic regulation must immediately hand over their license to an inspector as is stipulated in the Regulation 47 of LI 21 (8) of the road traffic regulation.

The inspectors, according to him, are the personnel responsible for inspection and are the only ones required by law to seize licenses.

Former Board Member of the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA), Matthew Hayford said the reason inspectors were made responsible for collecting licenses was because it was assumed that “inspectors are more responsible than the others even though they are equally qualified."

So police officers are advised to, at all times, be on the road with inspectors so that if there is a problem, they will make use of important documents only they are authorized to use”, he continued.

He indicated that any other policeman who operates these official documents is in breach of the law.

Mr Hayford advised drivers to learn and become conversant with the ranks of police officers and learn how to identify them at all times so that they are not mistreated.

When asked why the police is arresting drivers of vehicles with DP and DV license plates, DSP Alexander Obeng said those number plates are only to be used for vehicles which have just been imported into the country and are yet to be registered.

These vehicles according to him are given a DP or DV license plates as a temporary measure so that the vehicle owner is able to fix any problem the vehicle might have before it is sold out.

He said “vehicles that have DV or DP are defective and that is the meaning of the number plate. Anyone who uses over the 14 days stipulated period within which it is issued does so against the law.”

DSP Obeng however noted that car dealers are allowed to transport the vehicles from one point to another provided a party is interested in purchasing the vehicle and or his mechanic request for a test drive before it is purchased.

He cautioned that vehicle owners issued with DV or DP number plates should not misuse it because if they are apprehended, they will be severally dealt with by the law.

The Accra Regional Police command has impounded 476 unregistered vehicles found within the capital last Saturday.

This follows a previous exercise in December 2014 in which the police seized over 400 unregistered vehicles also within the Accra Metropolis.

Accra Regional Police Commander, DCOP Christian Tetteh Yohuno said the operation was carried out because some persons were misusing the DP and DV number plates.