There's another step to take before you can request a replacement plate if yours gets stolen.

As of Jan. 19, Albertans are now required to report a lost or stolen licence plate before they can request a replacement from registry agents.

The new requirement is not without a valid reason.

Lost or stolen plates can cause major issues, especially if used for criminal activity.

One key risk is the safety of law enforcement officers who largely benefit from having the most current and accurate information when doing roadside stops.

Nate Glubish, Minister of Service Alberta, says the change is based on common-sense.

"Requiring a police report for a lost or stolen licence plate is a common-sense change to make. In doing so, we are ensuring police have accurate information that can better help them when interacting with motorists and is crucial for an investigation."

Motorists will be required to present a police file number when requesting a replacement plate at a registry office.

Reports can be filed over the phone or at your local police station, and many police services also provide the option of doing it online.

If the police aren't notified before the replacement request, you can call directly from the registry office at the time of service.

Personalized licence plates are not affected by the change.

Those are issued in pairs and require the return of the other plate if one is reported, making the configuration unusable.

Alberta registry agents issued 46,307 replacement licence plates in 2020 alone, 30,687 noted as lost, 15,620 noted as stolen.

Last year, the change for reporting plates was piloted successfully across the province at 12 registry agent offices.

The reporting requirement was recommended by the Provincial Auto Theft Review Committee, a subcommittee of the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police.

Information provided by Okotoks Online