Burnt-out police car in Bristol protests was not fake

24 March 2021
What was claimed

A police car destroyed during protests in Bristol is a prop vehicle as the MOT has expired.

Our verdict

This is not the case. Police vehicles don’t need MOT registration.

A screengrab taken from Instagram of a burnt-out police car has been circulating on Facebook. The photo, originally posted by Best of Bristol, was taken during protests in Bristol on Sunday, 21 March over the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

Underneath the photo, the Instagram user said the car’s MOT registration had expired, therefore suggesting the vehicle may have been “a prop” and implying the incident was staged or set up in some way. 

It is true that the vehicle’s MOT has expired (you can check this for yourself here) but, in the case of police vehicles, it simply doesn’t matter. 

MOT tests are enforced under the Road Traffic Act 1988, but certain categories of vehicles, including police vehicles, do not have to be registered through MOT certification.The Motor Vehicles (Tests) Regulations 1981 states all of the exemptions including police vehicles.

This is also clearly stated in the forms to apply for an MOT exemption from the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

So, although the vehicle’s registration has expired this does not mean the vehicle was part of a set-up. 

The destruction of a number of police vehicles was also widely reported across news and social media.

Correction 26 March 2021

This piece was corrected to confirm that this Bristol protest took place on 21 March 2021.

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