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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about policing or the law? You may be able to find the answer here.

Through our frequently asked questions section we aim to help you find the answers you need without having to call us to ask for information. We've provided answers to questions on a range of topics which are regularly asked of police forces up and down the country.

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Informing the Police

You should contact the police using the non-emergency 101 number although if you consider the situation an emergency then use 999. The police may not send an officer out and you may be dealt with via the telephone. They will give you a crime reference number – you'll need this when you contact your insurance company to inform them what has happened or if you want to claim back your vehicle tax. The police will tell DVLA about the theft and if the vehicle is found.

If there is any evidence, for example CCTV or items left behind by the thieves that may contain fingerprints then inform the police. Use gloves when handling any item for fingerprint examination and do not handle it any more than necessary.

If the thieves are arrested and charged with the offence then in appropriate circumstances they will appear before the court and be dealt with.

See Q622 for more information on your rights as a victim of a crime.

Informing your insurance company and the DVLA

Inform your insurance company of what has happened as soon as possible and keep them informed of any developments. They will explain what you need to do and how you can make an insurance claim. If your insurance company pay your claim you need to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). You can do this by completing the 'notification of sale or transfer' (V5C/3) section of your registration document (V5C) and send it to the DVLA together with a letter stating when the payment was accepted and including details of the insurance company. You will then need to send the remaining part of the V5C to your insurance company. If your insurance company ask you to send the whole of the V5C to them, then send a letter to the DVLA providing details of the insurance company, the date of the claim, and the following information about your vehicle:

  • registration number
  • make
  • model
  • colour

You must also include your signature.

DVLA contact details are as follows:
Customer enquiries: 0300 790 6802
Textphone: 18001 0300 123 1279
Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm
Saturday, 8am to 2pm
Fax: 0300 123 0798

or write to:
Vehicle customer services
SA99 1AR

Obtain a refund on your car tax
If your vehicle is not found within a week, you can apply for a vehicle tax refund by completing form V33 (remember to include your crime reference number) and sending it to the:
Refund Section
SA99 1AL

Form V33 is not available online you need to contact DVLA Customer enquiries on 0300 790 6802.

Private registration numbers
If your vehicle had a personalised registration number and has not been recovered you can apply to have the registration number transferred to your replacement vehicle after one year providing the following apply:

  • You must have reported the theft to the police.
  • DVLA must have recorded the vehicle as stolen for at least 12 months - the police will inform the DVLA of the theft when you report it to them.
  • Your insurer must send a letter to DVLA confirming they don't object to the number being reissued.
  • The vehicle must have been taxed and had an MOT at the time of theft.

Providing the above points are satisfied, you can apply to keep/transfer your registration number via the address below (you will need to include your name, address and vehicle registration number):
DVLA Personalised Registrations
SA99 1DS

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Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.