Latest published figures from the 2004-05 British Crime Survey show that number plates were stolen in 1.9 per cent. of all thefts from vehicles, and in 5 per cent. of thefts where vehicle external fittings were stolen.
Although the proportion of number plate thefts is low, we understand from anecdotal evidence that it is an emerging problem. In order to help address it, following consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency published in February 2006 a voluntary standard for vehicle registration plates which were resistant to theft. These plates are more difficult to detach from vehicles and cannot be fitted to other vehicles once detached. Products meeting the standard are currently available from about 300 retail outlets.