NEW police technology cracking down on uninsured drivers breaking the law will keep hundreds of people out of the criminal justice system throughout Oxfordshire.

Operation Tutelage is set to be used by forces across the country after a six-month trial by Thames Valley Police and Hampshire's joint roads policing unit identified more than 2,500 vehicles with no insurance.

Inspector Simon Hills, one of the driving forces behind the operation, told the Oxford Mail the A34 throughout the county, the A4421 in Bicester and A40 towards Witney were hot spots to catch uninsured drivers.

Insp Hills said the new operation took a 'friendly' and 'warmer' approach to law abiding motorists who may have made mistakes insuring their vehicles or had forgotten. He added some people thought they were insured and it had turned out an insurance company had made an error or not renewed.

He added 20 per cent of drivers who were ignored the police warning had been found to commit other driving offences and drug dealing in some cases.

From March 1 to August 31 the force wrote to the owners of every single vehicle which flashed up as uninsured 'encouraging them to check if their policy was correct and up-do-date'.

The vehicles in question were checked again after three weeks, and the force said the warning resulted in 80 per cent of drivers caught to get their vehicle insured or update their records.

Insp Hills, who is based at Bicester, said the force launched the operation after finding an increasing number of drivers being uninsured. He added: "Whilst the percentage of uninsured vehicles in our region is below the national average, it is still a cause for concern.

"It is vital for us to reduce the number of uninsured vehicles on the roads. We know that uninsured vehicles account for a proportionately higher number of collisions, and are more likely to be linked with 'fatal four' offences, such as drink and drug driving. Uninsured vehicles also create a cost burden to those who buy insurance being used to pay for uninsured losses each year.

"The 80 per cent compliance rate is very pleasing.

"Im passionate about it, it's not replacing anything we already do. We are not saying we are pulling loads of patrols off. We have one officer over two forces working on this. We anticipate he will single handedly be responsible for the re-insurance for 5,000 vehicles."

Police have seized 113 vehicles where the owner failed to comply and the remaining 484 vehicles are either waiting to be rechecked or set for more enforcement.

The new technology is believed to be so efficient that in an hour and a half, one officer at the roadside could identify about 30 uninsured vehicles.

In the past officers have had to rely on intelligence, stopping and checking vehicles.

Insp Hills said on average across Thames Valley, 3,000 vehicles a year were found with no insurance and during the operation lasting six months, more than 2,500 vehicles had been identified.

He added: "By doing this, the number of vehicles uninsured on the roads will reduce and the number of officers stopping them will reduce and we can reinvest those officers' time into doing other stuff.

"Roads policing can be in the firing line for the tactics we take. We are so passionate about saving people's lives we will put up worth that flack.

"I'm proud as punch, I really am. I have been given backing from the bosses to really go forward with this."