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DSA wins first national identity crime award

20th November 2009 Print

A Driving Standards Agency (DSA) team tracking down criminals who undermine the driving test has won a major new award.

The National Identity Crime Single Point of Contact Award was introduced to honour police forces and government agencies which play a role in the national fight against identity crime. It is issued by the Identity Crime Working Group of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

The inaugural award was won by DSA’s Fraud and Integrity Team ‘in recognition of outstanding results achieved’.

 “Through dedicated investigation and co-ordination, DSA’s Fraud and Integrity Team has arrested over 900 suspected criminals who have attempted to infiltrate the national driving test process,” said Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lowton, chair of ACPO’s Identity Crime Working Group.

“As a result, they have prevented hundreds of criminals driving on public roads without passing driving tests. The positive impact upon public safety cannot be understated.”

DSA established its Fraud and Integrity Team in 2004 after it became apparent that theory and practical driving tests were being infiltrated by organised crime gangs, impersonating people unwilling or unable to pass the driving test in exchange for payment.

Since then it has investigated over 3,000 alleged incidents of impersonation, which have resulted in 821arrests, 210 successful convictions, 338 police cautions being issued and 1,186 driving licences revoked. Currently, 129 suspects are in the legal system awaiting prosecution.

The major focus of the team’s work is road safety. Impersonators aim to supply driving licences to people who are unable or unwilling to pass the driving test to prove they are safe to drive on our roads. In addition, driving licences can be used to support a false identity or aid further fraud and identity offences.

DSA’s head of Fraud and Integrity, Andy Rice, accepted the award from Home Officer Minister Meg Hillier, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Identity.

He said: “This award marks DSA’s achievement in developing a response to impersonations at driving test. 

“Since setting up the team five years ago we have made great strides to combat this problem. The successes we have achieved throughout this period have brought us to the attention of the wider enforcement community, cumulating in this award.

“Tackling impersonations is a key priority for DSA. We investigate all reported cases and work closely with the police and criminal justice agencies to identify offenders and prosecute.

Mr Rice added: “We will continue to develop our methods and intelligence in the future to combat all forms of crime around the driving test. Our investigations, and the resulting court sentences, send a clear message out to anyone thinking of this type of crime – we will use every method at our disposal to bring you to justice.”

The award is open to all police authorities, government departments and agencies with enforcement operations including the Home Office, DVLA, Identity and Passport Service, Department for Work and Pensions, HM Revenue and Customs, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, Criminal Records Bureau, UK Borders Agency, and the Attorney General’s office.