According to the Road Traffic Act 2004, DV and DP number plates can be used when a motor vehicle has been unloaded from a ship and is being driven to the garage.
The Accra Regional Police Command has impounded 800 vehicles in an effort to enforce the ban on the misuse of unregistered vehicles.
The drivers of the vehicles were granted bail shortly after their caution statements had been taken at the various police stations in whose jurisdictions they were arrested.
In a special operation organised simultaneously by divisional commands under the Accra Regional Police Command last Monday, policemen impounded vehicles with defective vehicle (DV) and drive-from-port (DP) number plates after inspecting the documents covering them.
Since the exercise, the compounds of all the divisional police headquarters have been taken over by the impounded vehicles.
Misuse of number plates
According to the Road Traffic Act 2004, DV and DP number plates, also referred to as trade licence, can be used when a motor vehicle has been unloaded from a ship and is being driven to the garage.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) issues DV and DP number plates to garage owners and car dealers to assist in transporting vehicles from the ports to homes, garages or mechanic shops.
The DV and DP plates are also used for transporting vehicles to the offices of the DVLA for registration and for test-driving or trial by a prospective buyer.
It is unlawful to use vehicles with DV and DP number plates beyond 7 p.m.
Speaking to journalists, the Accra Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police Mr Tetteh Yohuno, said unregistered vehicles posed security threat concerns to the police and the public.
That, he said, was because the police were unable to trace such vehicles when they were involved in criminal offences.
Intelligence picked up by the police, he said, was that some persons did not paste the DV and DP plates on the cars “but hung them with a piece of rope and quickly removed them after committing crimes with the cars”.
“When such cars are involved in accidents, the drivers leave the victims and run away and it is difficult to trace them,” he said.
During the operation, Mr Yohuno said, it was observed that most of the drivers of the DV and DP plate-carrying vehicles either did not have log books, as required by law, or failed to make entries of their movement.
“Failing to make entries in the log book, making incorrect entries in the log book or failing to make the log book available for inspection by a police officer is an offence,” he said.
Mr Yohuno explained that the special operation, which was the second since January this year, was carried out because it had been observed that people bought cars at this time of the year and deliberately kept them until the early part of the following year to acquire fresh number plates.
He explained that the objective for embarking on the unannounced operation was to help reduce the misuse of DV and DP number plates in the region.