Number of motorists caught driving while banned rises

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Media captionPolice dashcam footage shows a banned driver flipping his car during a high speed chase.

The number of people in Britain caught driving while already banned has increased by 7.5%, according to figures obtained by BBC Radio 5 live.

Some 14,500 people were caught driving without a licence last year, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency data shows.

In total, 109,660 motorists were banned from driving, with the youngest being 12 and the oldest 94.

One chief constable said she was "very concerned" about the number of people disregarding driving bans.

One example included a motorist who was caught driving while banned four times in 12 months.

The same person was also convicted for failing to stop and driving without insurance at least three times.

'Risk to all'

In all, three 12-year-olds were banned last year, and cases such as theirs are dealt with by the courts in a similar way to adults.

Too young to legally drive, a non-licence holder record is set up in their name on the DVLA's database, and the offender can then only apply for a licence once their ban has expired.

Gloucestershire Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, road policing lead for the National Police Chiefs Council, said: "Generally some people who are disqualified will also be involved in other types of criminality and that might have contributed to them being banned.

"But they'll be people who are driving without insurance because they can't get insurance, because they're disqualified drivers, and so that immediately poses a risk to all of us."

'Destroyed my life'

Image caption Paul Stock was killed by a banned driver in 2010

Mandy Stock is all too familiar with the dangers that disqualified drivers can pose.

Her husband, Paul, was killed by a banned driver just a short walk from his front door in 2012.

Graham Godwin was described as "an absolute menace on the roads" when he was sentenced to a two-year ban - the maximum available at the time.

Image caption Mandy Stock said she had to close the business she ran with her husband

Godwin had 12 previous convictions for driving without insurance, nine for driving while disqualified and three for drink driving.

Mandy said her husband's death had a devastating impact: "It destroyed my life. [Paul and I] ran a business together for 25 years, which I had to shut down.

"The customers would just come in and say 'Oh, where's Paul?' or 'Paul did an estimate' and having to continually explain to people over and over and over again what had happened, it just destroyed my life."

North Yorkshire Police Traffic Constable Dan Hughes and his colleagues use intelligence, automatic number plate recognition technology and sometimes luck to track down offenders.

"There are disqualified drivers out there who will pay no regard whatsoever to the law and the justice system, and if they are told they are disqualified they will just flout that without blinking an eye," he said.

"I came across a person just a couple of weeks ago - I was dealing with him for other offences as well as driving while disqualified. He was disqualified six times over already.

"People who drive while disqualified will keep getting disqualified."

Driver education

Mandy Stock was so incensed by the two-year sentence that her husband's killer received that she forced a change in the law.

Now any driver killing someone while banned from driving can be sentenced to up to 10 years in jail.

Ms Davenport said the police service was running education campaigns to try to stop people from being banned in the first place, alongside technology to help catch those who flout the law.

But she accepts some drivers will carry on regardless.

"We generally keep on arresting them and they end up in jail," she added.

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