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Given that the police will chase you down if your own vehicle isn’t taxed or insured, many people are curious about the laws for police cars and whether they need an MOT, tax, or insurance?
No, under the Motor Vehicles Regulations Act, police cars do not need an MOT because they are regularly inspected and maintained. Police cars do not need to be taxed because emergency vehicles are exempt, however, they do need to be insured.
Keep reading to find out more about the differences between road regulations for government-owned vehicles and regular civilian vehicles.
Do Police Cars Need an MOT?
No, in the UK, Police cars do not need an MOT. This is because Under Regulation 6 (1) (xiv) of the Motor Vehicles Regulations 1981, vehicles that are regularly maintained in a workshop that is government approved are exempt from needing an MOT. (source)
The police departments of the United Kingdom, maintain and repair their own fleet vehicles in approved workshops that are manned by technicians that work for the police.
Interestingly, a Facebook user posted a document that shows proof that a police vehicle does not have a valid MOT, and the post was reshared over one thousand times because people were outraged by a police car not having a valid MOT. So, this shows, many people are not aware of the law regarding police cars and MOTs.
Do UK Police Cars Have to be Taxed?
No, police cars do not need to be taxed in the UK because they are emergency vehicles which means they are exempt.
Here is a full list of the vehicles that are exempt from vehicle tax, according to Suffolk Constabulary:
- Emergency vehicles which include police, fire, ambulances
- Lifeboat haulage vehicles
- Vehicles not for carriage – driver or passengers
- Electrically propelled vehicles and electrically assisted pedal cycles
- Steam-powered vehicles
- Vehicles used by a disabled person
- Vehicles for road construction
- Vehicles that are used between different parts of land – no more than 1.5km used in agricultural, horticultural or forestry purposes
- Tractors used for hedge trimming
- Snow ploughs and gritters
- Vehicles imported by foreign armed forces etc
- Crown, Diplomatic or Consular vehicles
- historic vehicles which were constructed 40 or more years ago.
Police cars are exempt from vehicle tax as they are classed as emergency vehicles.
The list shows that a number of other vehicles are also exempt from the tax including council-owned vehicles, tractors, and historic vehicles.
This is why police cars would never display tax discs back when they were a legal requirement for other vehicles on the road.
Do UK Police Cars Need Insurance?
Yes, by law every car on the road in the UK needs to be insured, which includes police cars and other emergency vehicles. However, they are insured by the government using a different type of insurance.
So, if you happen to get into a road accident with a police car, the insurance process will be slightly different, as police cars are not insured with companies that civilians use.
If a police car hits you or vice versa, it is best to hire a lawyer as it is very difficult to deal with the government for an insurance claim.
Who Services Police Cars?
Police cars are serviced and maintained by people who work for the police and never by a third-party individual. Some police forces have their own facilities for working on vehicles whereas others will have a contract with a local garage in the area to use their space.
I say this with first-hand experience from my time working in the servicing department of a dealership. Our in-house technicians did not deal with police cars, but technicians from the police came to the workshop and used the facilities for carrying out maintenance checks on police vehicles.
A police car is usually maintained with a yearly service or when it reaches 10,000 miles, this is typically the same for any car on the road.
The police are far stricter with their servicing than a typical civilian. According to Kent police, if a service is overdue the vehicle must not be used and should be referred to a workshop controller before it can get back on the road.
Why Can’t a Third-Party Service a Police Car?
Police cars cannot be serviced by a third party for safety reasons to ensure the process can be controlled and there is no risk of it being tampered with.
The police need to know exactly what is in the car and ensure that any data on equipment in the vehicle is safe from theft or damage.
Do Police Cars Have Speed Cameras?
Yes, police cars have an in-car camera system that detects and records a car’s speed on the road. If you are speeding near a police car, it will be detected and recorded, and you may be pulled over.
What Happens to Old Police Cars?
Old police cars that are still in working order are usually sold to civilians. The equipment and stickers are removed, then police cars are treated the same as any other used car when it is no longer needed by the owner.
What About Other Emergency Services?
Other emergency services vehicles have the same exemptions as police cars, as they are owned by the government and they provide a service for the population, they do not have to pay taxes that civilians are required to.
Ellie used to work in a Vauxhall dealership but has now turned her passion to writing about cars instead. Ellie currently drives a Corsa but as an electric vehicle fanatic has her hopes on one day owning a Tesla. It will, of course, be grey as she only ever owns grey cars.