[holding answer 12 March 2010]: The police are empowered to remove and store vehicles under various provisions, in particular the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (vehicles illegally, obstructively or dangerously parked or broken down or abandoned), the Road Traffic Act 1988 (vehicles driven without appropriate licence or insurance) and the Police Reform Act 2002 (vehicles causing alarm, distress or annoyance).
The police must return these vehicles on payment of prescribed charges and satisfaction of any other prescribed conditions. If payment is not made or relevant conditions are not satisfied, the police may dispose of the vehicle concerned as they consider most appropriate, usually by crushing or sale. Information on the numbers of vehicles removed under the different powers and what subsequently happens to each of them is not collected centrally.
[holding answer 12 March 2010]: Any vehicle seized by the police can be reclaimed on payment of charges prescribed by statute to meet police costs and on satisfaction of any other prescribed requirements. If a vehicle is not reclaimed, the police may dispose of it as they consider appropriate. Any proceeds of the disposal are used to meet the prescribed charges; any surplus is returned to the owner. Information is not collected centrally on these transactions.