How long does a Police Marker stay on a Car?

The Police can put various types of “markers” on vehicles for different reasons. Overall, police markers are designed to keep the roads safe for everyone. If you unwillingly buy a car with a police marker assigned to it, it can cause undue problems and hassle.

So how do you avoid buying a car with a marker on it? And how do you even check? Read our full guide below to find out more about this little-known area.


What is a “police marker”?

A police marker is basically a big red bullseye that is registered on the Police National Database (PND) against the vehicle’s registration plate. It indicates the vehicle may be of interest to them and therefore the police are much more likely to pull it over.

Police markers can be assigned to vehicles for several reasons. If the police stop and search a vehicle and find drugs then they will put a marker on the vehicle. This way, the police know that it’s possible that there could be drugs in the vehicle in the future.

Another reason for a police marker might be because the vehicle has been cloned. There is a discussion on Pistonheads about this very situation; the only way to remove the marker would be to find the cloned vehicle! A pretty much impossible task.


What about “Section 59” police markers?

Another marker that police sometimes issue on vehicles is called a “Section 59” marker, from the Police and Reform Act 2002.

The police will sometimes place these markers on vehicles that have been involved in anti-social behaviour… Examples of vehicle anti-social behaviour might be unlawful off-road use, persistent flouting of traffic regulations or reckless driving.

Owning a vehicle that has a Section 59 police marker assigned to it can be a very frustrating experience. Since the invention of ANPR cameras, it’s now easy for police to identify cars that have markers on. The police only have to sit in a layby with their ANPR system activated. As soon as a car with a marker assigned drives past, the system will alert the patrol car. It’s highly likely that they will then proceed to stop the vehicle.

Depending on the type of marker that the car has assigned to it, the police could then request documentation from the driver to be allowed to continue on their journey. Such documentation includes proof of road tax (VED), MOT and insurance. It’s also likely that the vehicle and any of its occupants will be searched at the roadside.

To make matters worse, if your vehicle receives two or more Section 59 markers, the Police have the legal right to impound it as well. Plus they can charge you daily fees if you want your vehicle back.

A lot of hassle indeed.


How do I remove a police marker?

When the police assign a marker to a vehicle, it’s because they have reason to believe that the vehicle may be involved in suspicious activity. The marker is assigned to the actual vehicle, and not the person driving it.

In summary, sadly it can be quite difficult to remove a marker. If you owned the vehicle when the marker was placed on it, then it is highly unlikely that you will be able to get the marker removed. Selling the vehicle with a marker will also be difficult as will get flagged by HPI checks.

But be aware some markers, such as a Section 59 marker, can expire after a certain period — so check your paperwork. If the offence was relatively minor, then this can be in as few as 6 months. Other markers can stay with the vehicle for its entire life on the road.

If you have purchased a car that has a marker assigned to it already, it can sometimes be removed.

To do so, you will need to produce proof of new ownership, as well as valid tax, MOT and insurance documents. If you take these documents to a police station and explain that you are the new owner of the car, then they may remove the marker. But this is a shaky area and the police have not set out any formal guidelines or processes.

Can I sell a car that has a police marker on it?

Legally, it is possible to sell a car with a police intelligence marker against it, but it will likely get flagged by an HPI style check. So the seller may find it difficult to sell without removing the marker first. And there’s also the question of it being morally right to do so.


How to tell if a car has a police marker on it?

There is no way for the general public to find out if a vehicle has a marker registered on the Police National Database for FREE sadly, but ordering a PND check for £9.95 from us will highlight if it has been stolen.

Often drivers will have no idea that their car has a police marker assigned to it – until they get pulled out. Some motorists who own vehicles with markers attached have reported being stopped as much as 6 times in a single day. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for a police-marked vehicle to be stopped at least once a week.

Due to the amount of hassle involved with owning a vehicle that has a police marker, it is advised to avoid it in the first place.

If you are buying a used car and are worried about a police marker, there are still ways to check if a car has ever been stolen, by conducting a vehicle check online – a full PND / police marker check service is available from us for only £9.95 per vehicle and includes various other checks as well.

Our checks will provide you with lots of information about the vehicle’s history, including any markers held for it on the  police national database (PND).




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15 thoughts on “How long does a Police Marker stay on a Car?

  1. My partner just came to pick me up from the benefits office and there was 3 police cars following us home. We pulled over for them and then they put me and my partner in handcuffs and told us that we have been pulled over because the car is marked for gang violence and carrying a knife. We asked them wen was it marked and they said it’s been marked for a while. But he’s never been stopped before. They asked silly questions, I showed proof we were not there that day they claim. They found nothing and did everything to try and threaten us with getting arrested. In the end they said my boyfriends car is now marked and that he will now constantly be getting pulled over every single time. They took off the handcuffs and said we could go. I’m just confused at how the police can have the balls to get it so wrong and still try to act like you are in the wrong.

  2. My husband returned from work last night, to find three police cars parked across our road waiting for him to park in out drive. Upon parking, an officer introduced himself to ask where he has been and provide details of his journey as the vehicle reg was reported a girl being bundled into the back of the boot! My husband explained he had been to work, and sainsburys. He was asked to produce proof, and showed the receipt of the items purchased and the police swiftly moved on.
    I spoke to an ex met police staff this morning who has strongly advised to sell the car or replace the number plate. I’m still working things out in my head as to how this allegation has occurred but don’t think I will find the answer. Wonder how long this marker will stay on the vehicle as it’s still under
    lease and have made plans to purchase outright!

  3. Hey I bought car I keep feelin pulled I think it got mark on it I’m a nurse an I get really scared please help me take this off x

  4. So does your PND check for Drugs and drink-driving etc?, we purchased a car for my wife last year she was pulled over eight times in the first two months with my children a car, first two times not a problem we are law-abiding and have nothing to hide, PC plod explained the third time car had a marker on it, Long story short even after going to the Local Police station proving date of new ownership and asking marker to be removed she continued to be pulled over so we had to sell it.

    1. Hi Alf,
      Our PND Check simply highlights if there is a marker on the vehicle. It won’t tell you that it was for drink and drugs, for example. That kind of specific information is something that only the police have access to, and is recorded against the driver, not the vehicle, in most cases. In particularly egregious cases the police will record it against the vehicle too (which sounds like your case). Unfortunately, it’s up to the police’s discretion if they wish to remove the marker.

  5. Hi,

    My car was recently stolen and so the crime recorded with the police. It was then found and returned to me and no insurance claim was made so in the eyes of the police and the insurer – the case is closed. However I have done a HPI check on the car and it records the theft of the car – is this going to be the case forever more of can it be lifted as is this for the police to do? Any guidance appreciated as at the moment it massively devalues the car for onward sale.

    1. Lol it got stolen it course that marker will stay on the car forever how do you know when it read stolen it wasn’t driven like there’s no tomorrow? Car could be damaged mechanically that don’t mean it will show up when you drive it some cars issue arise later on in the cars life

      1. Sorry @NINJA but this isn’t correct. A police marker does NOT always stay on the car forever. It depends on the situation. We have seen many vehicles with police markers be removed, for example when a new keeper takes it on and request it to be removed.

  6. I have recently discovered (after being pulled over) that my vehicle has s police marker on it due to a previous owner/s. The policeman went do far as to satmy that my best bet would be to get shot of it! I like the car and don’t want to do that! How can I find out what the marker/s is for?

    1. Hi Lee,

      Unfortunately most vehicle check services like ours will only show if there is a police marker, and not what it’s actually for. Your only way to find that out is to contact the police directly, telling them you are the registered keeper.

      1. How long do markers stay on your car for going through a Amber light?

        So annoying the police man said “it makes me look stupid if I don’t do something” Are you joking?! How many people go through a amber light these days?! Funny how the cars in front of me sped off.

    2. A mate was in the same predicament he bought a private plate for £100 and paid DVLA the transfer fee. Was never stopped again. Remember the marker is on the VRM not the car or owner. If you want to sell in future a full vehicle check will show a plate change but checking up on any previous plates will draw a blank.

  7. I have bought a Mini that had a police record for being used as doing burnouts in the supermarket carpark and want to remove it please help!

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