We have become increasingly concerned about the number of VRMs ‘falling off’ PNC (police national computer) LoS (lost or stolen) which have NOT been found. Having raised this with a constabulary, the response was:
It appears failure to confirm the report of LoS on PNC by the police will cause the LoS record/entry to be auto-weeded and ‘falloff’, the PNC LoS marker to be removed.
Accordingly, any enquiry of the VRM will reveal no record of the stolen status, it will appear ‘clear’ of interest.
National Policy dictates that an unconfirmed report remains on the system for 6 weeks.
Therefore, if a stolen report is not ‘confirmed’ (as stolen) by an officer, after 6 weeks the PNC LoS marker automatically drops off the system. Is this common? Please see below the figures from one UK constabulary that indicate more than 3 such markers are removed each week.
What does this mean for you the insured, your insurers and others:
- No PNC LoS being recorded against the vehicle claimed for will need to be explained – giving rise to delays
- The PNC LoS marker will need to be reinstated if ‘weeded’ inappropriately
- Any police officer or possibly a parking authority uplifting the car (if parked illegally) inquiring about the car, will not be alerted to the stolen status
- Public-facing registers such as MyCarCheck, MotorCheck, Experian and HPI will not convey the stolen status:
- an avenue of enquiry/recovery will be missed
- an innocent purchaser may acquire the vehicle
- a claim may be raised against the vehicle information supplier
FoIA response by a constabulary to a request for ‘unconfirmed’ reports
During a period between March 2019 and February 2020 due to a change in the procedures within force contact a small number of reports 130 which were initially entered as stolen reports pending the complainant reporting the full details of the incident online were not made subject of a crime report so were not confirmed, these were checked at a point one and two weeks later and the 130 reports had not been crimed so were therefore not confirmed and would have weeded off after six weeks.
The 130 reports were not reinstated as the reports were not substantiated.
Hendon issue weekly daily action files warning of loss reports that are due to weed.
However as vehicle updates are restricted to a team of about 24 staff within the PNC bureau the staff perform a weekly VODs search to check all stolen reports owned by [constabulary] Police and check that all are confirmed so will remain on the system for 6 years. Prior to the change of command and control system the force did not confirm the loss until we were in possession of a crime number but not closing the log until the reference number was available. Under the new control system this function is no longer available so we now confirm the entry against the incident number at the time of the original report so none will weed before six years. We still perform the weekly VODs check to ensure that any human error is detected and all reports are confirmed.
Examples of a ‘weeding’ error:
Example 1 (02/2023)
To the police:
WU19*** MERCEDES-BENZ C 220 AMG LINE PREMIUM D AUTO, 5/01/2023 loss.
We are advised that the following VRM has been removed from the PNC LoS register suggesting it has been found.
The insured has been advised by your constabulary this is not the case.
However, having just searched the VRM again, it is NOT shown stolen on the public-facing register … someone removed it over the weekend.
Has the vehicle been found? If not, why was the PNC LoS marker been removed and why has the insured been told it has not?
However, the insured contacted the police and was informed the vehicle was still recorded stolen, it had not been found. We explained this was likely only half-true; we suspect the vehicle had not been found but it was no longer recorded as stolen.
Ultimately, the constabulary conceded:
There is no marker on PNC at all.
I have spoken to our PNC Liaison Dept . They have carried out checks and it has been weeded off in error on Sunday 26/02/23.
The vehicle is still outstanding Stolen and they will place the los marker back onto PNC today
Example 2 (01/2023)
To the police:
Please can someone explain the removal of the VRM from PNC LoS to the victim and detail to us why he has apparently been advised the vehicle is recorded LoS on PNC
We have a disclosure request logged under the reference 322/23.
We do not yet appear to have received payment for this request.
If payment has been raised please let me know and I will check this with our accounts team.
Please be aware the request will not be processed until payment has been received.
After questioning the demand for a payment to address what appeared to be a constabulary error, ultimately they responded:
Apologies I have checked and the marker was removed, unsure how or why.
The marker is now back in place.
I can provide no other information in relation to the vehicle.
Example 3 (11/2022)
RE17*** BMW 730D XDRIVE M SPORT AUTO
The constabulary acknowledged:
The vehicle was on a temp marker as per [redacted] Police Policy which I have now been told actually lasts 6 weeks not 24 hours so my apologies for incorrect information.
If you had not informed [redacted] Police of the error the marker would have ended and not show on PNC.
As you have informed us of the issue the mistake was rectified.