The DVLA have released a 46 page list of all the banned number plates for the UK. Amongst all the usual offensive and racist registration numbers, there are some more bizarre plates that have been banned. Here’s our look at some of the strangest banned number plates in the UK.
The list is compiled and updated twice a year by the DVLA, where a team of censors come together to analyse the possible combinations afforded by the new number place. As well as the established racist and offensive terminology, they are charged with working out anything that could be “potentially offensive”. This broadens the spectrum of what could be banned dramatically.
The release of the list came after a British man named Islam was refused permission to register “15LAM”. The DVLA have come under fire in the past, with the release of “H8 GAY” in 2006 met with widespread criticism and outrage. The plate was quickly withdrawn, as was “F4 GOT” and “D1 KES”. The potential to offend is something the DVLA take very seriously.
One recurring trend is the banning of Nazi related number plates. As well as the usual “Nazi” and “Hitler” variations, you can’t have a number plate that describes how you march. Yes, “GO05 TEP” is banned. The Goosestep is most commonly associated with the Nazis, but is still practised in countries across the globe and originally started here in the UK. This makes the banning of this particular plate all the more stranger.
Another trend in the list are number plates that seem to be giving bad advice. “SP** EED”, “CR** ASH”, and “DR** UNK” are just some of the examples from the list that contain bad or illegal advice. Quite why these have to be banned is unsure, perhaps the risk of ironic accidents is too high. If the reason is that they are a bit too suggestive to drivers, like some sort of subliminal messaging, then surely the problem is not just with the number plate.
You also cannot describe any negative emotion, especially anger. Both “AN** GER” and “AN** GRY” are banned. Road rage is all okay, as long as you don’t express it via your number plate.
As well as bad advice, it seems bragging about real or imagined criminal exploits is illegal. “PR15 SON” is banned, hardly the most offensive term. “GU11 LTY” is another banned plate, though if a criminal wants to confess via the medium of car number plate, why stop them? “CR11 MES” and “TE12 ROR” are also on the list. How these could cause potential offence, who knows.
Slightly more understandable are more specific crimes. “MA55 MDR” and similar violent crimes are on the list. Perhaps the danger is not just the offence caused, but the distraction when someone driving tries to work out what exactly the number plate is supposed to mean.
If you can write it on your calculator, it’s probably on the list. Yes, the limited characters on the number plate means there isn’t much room for imagination. So old favourites from the playground and notes passed around classrooms are prohibited. “RU** GAY”, “UG02 HEL” and “W11 NKR” are just some of the old classics on the ban list.
On the plus side, “BO08 IES” is not on the list, so you won’t have to resort to getting a “5318008” plate and turning it upside down. And finally “PEN 15” is allowed, “VA61 ANA” is not. I’ll leave you to argue why that’s the case.