Rules that grant stopped motorists seven days to present their driving licence at a police station will be swept away under plans to issue officers with hand-held machines that will instantly call up licences.
The devices will link the national police computer to the DVLA database in Swansea, which holds details of Britain’s 34 million driving records. Officers will then be able to tell instantly whether motorists are who they say they are – and whether they have been banned from using the roads or are uninsured.
Ministers say they want to roll the system out nationally, arguing it will help catch more illegal drivers, cut paperwork and reduce inconvenience to law-abiding motorists.
In another move, they are working on plans to introduce “evidential breath test instruments” at the roadside by the end of the year. These would allow officers to take samples from suspected drink-drivers which would be admissible in court without the need to take motorists to a police station.
The Government argues this would increase conviction rates by eliminating the risk of a driver providing a negative sample because of the time that passes before they are retested.
Damian Green, the Policing minister, said the technology “can enable officers to make effective decisions on the street without wasting time returning to the station.”