Commercial Vehicle Unit
The Commercial Vehicle Unit was set up in 2010 when North Wales Police became one of the first police forces in the country to work in conjunction with the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) – formally known as VOSA to tackle commercial vehicles.
There is currently a small team of North Wales Police officers attached to the unit who are based at the Llandygai Roads Policing Unit, along with a staff member from the DVSA.
They predominantly cover the A55 which thousands of lorries travel across every day. Over 750 lorries a day also pass through Holyhead Port – one of the busiest ports in the UK.
The Commercial Vehicle Unit are also responsible for enforcement around commercial vehicles including heavy goods vehicles, buses, coaches and taxis.
The unit is able to assist the Roads Policing Team and has expertise in the following matters:
- Commercial vehicle defects
- Overweight vehicles
- Tachograph enforcement
- Taxi licencing
- Enforcement of operators licenses
- Abnormal load enforcement
Staff act on intelligence wherever possible and are also involved with many operations in partnership with other agencies such as HM Revenue and Customs.
The police and DVSA have the power to carry out spot checks on vehicles and issue prohibitions if necessary. A prohibition prevents you from driving until you get a problem with your vehicle fixed.
Either immediate or delayed prohibitions are issued, depending on how dangerous the vehicle is before any faults are fixed.
Information regarding the variation of prohibitions are available on the Government's website
Police and DVSA officers can also issue fixed penalties if you commit an offence. Some of these are graduated depending on the circumstances and seriousness of the offence. Further information can be found via this link.
What happens when vehicles are stopped?
The checks are carried out either at the roadside or at dedicated enforcement sites – with two in North Wales including Dalar Hir on Anglesey and Ewloe in Flintshire.
Checks are carried out to keep unsafe vehicles off the road. The officer checks that the vehicle isn’t breaking any rules and regulations. This includes:
- Checking authorised load weights and type of load permitted
- Checking vehicles for roadworthiness and mechanical faults
- Looking at tachograph records
- Making sure the driver has a valid occupational driving licence
- Vehicles can be impounded if drivers commit a series of serious offences
Foreign registered vehicles are subject to the same rules as vehicles registered in the UK.
It is an offence if drivers fail to stop. The incident will be officially recorded and drivers will be interviewed at a later date. They may then face court action or be reported to the Traffic Commissioner, who may remove or suspend the operator’s licence.
False documents, forged driving licences and letters of rest and tampered tachographs are the most common problems picked up by the team in North Wales – particularly with drivers.
Other offences looked at by the team are the use of rebated fuel (red and green diesel), money laundering, human trafficking and carriage of dangerous goods, like chemicals and gases.
In 2014 the Unit collected almost £135,000 in Graduated Fixed Penalty Notices (GFPN) and issued 262 prohibitions.
Further information regarding the DVSA is available via their website