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City Police Traffic Tips: Vehicle registration cloning on the increase

2023-06-01  Correspondent

City Police Traffic Tips: Vehicle registration cloning on the increase

Community Policing Officer


The Windhoek City Police Service is concerned about the rising trend of criminals using cloned or stolen registration numbers, also known as number plates, on vehicles. The illegal practice is particularly used for getaway vehicles or for criminal activities such as operating pirated taxis. 

These incidents have raised serious concerns within our department. Criminals with a history of multiple arrests are well aware that a vehicle’s number plate can easily be traced back to the owner if witnessed by the public during a robbery or other criminal acts.

Additionally, our investigations into solved cases have revealed that alphanumeric big numbers displayed on taxis, are often inauthentic when these taxis are utilised for criminal activities or as getaway vehicles. It has been observed that criminals frequently target number plates of vehicles that are not used due to mechanical issues. Vehicles that have been left unattended for extended periods with visible number plates in garages or yards are the prime targets for such criminals. Furthermore, criminals also remove number plates from vehicles involved in accidents, unguarded. This tactic is employed to divert police attention by implicating the innocent owners during police investigations.

Each vehicle’s number plate is unique to its owner and our database contains the necessary vehicle ownership details linked to these number plates. The Windhoek City Police Service therefore emphasises the importance of displaying number plates in a legible manner which implies the characters on the plates should be clear, visible, and not distorted. Using altered fonts, stickers, or any other modifications that impede the readability of the number plates are against the law.

According to the Road Traffic and Transportation Act, it is strictly prohibited to use number plates that are not issued or authorised by relevant authorities. This includes the use of homemade or counterfeit number plates..

Consequently, if a plate number is no longer in use, it is legally required for the owner to deregister it. In the unfortunate event of a number plate being stolen, vehicle owners are required to report it immediately to the nearest police station.

To avoid becoming unwittingly involved in criminal activities and to steer clear of legal implications, vehicle owners must adhere to the following general duties:

Regularly inspect and ensure the security of their number plates.

Promptly report any stolen or missing number plates to the authorities.

Deregister and destroy unused or expired number plates as per the law.

Avoid leaving vehicles unattended for extended periods in vulnerable locations.

Safeguard vehicles involved in accidents by promptly reporting them to the relevant authorities and taking necessary precautions to secure the number plate.

Cooperate fully with law enforcement agencies during investigations related to stolen number plates or any criminal activities.

By adhering to these responsibilities, vehicle owners can actively contribute to the prevention of criminal activities associated with stolen number plates and can help maintain the safety and security of our community. The public is therefore encouraged to acquaint themselves with Regulation 37 of the Road Traffic and Transport Regulations (GN 53 of 2001) of the Road Traffic and Transportation Act (22 of 1999) for a comprehensive understanding of the legal requirements related to vehicle number plates in usage and penalties thereof.

The Windhoek City Police Service remains committed to addressing this issue and urges the public to report any suspicious activities related to stolen number plates promptly.

The responsibility of road safety is everybody’s concern and executing your duties as a driver is essential in contributing to safety on our roads. The Windhoek City Police can be contacted on 061 2902239, or the toll-free no: 061-302 302. 


Photo: Traffic

Caption: Cloned or stolen vehicle number plates are increasingly being used by getaway vehicles or for criminal activities such as operating pirated taxis. Photo: Contributed


2023-06-01  Correspondent

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