Since 2014, the number of motorcycles stolen across the country has increased by an almost incomprehensible amount, a gobsmacking 600%. In the the last year alone, more than 25,000 motorcycles were stolen with only two in five of these recovered. It’s a scary set of statistics and most prominent in our capital city of London.
A crime pandemic like this places considerable strain not only on the victims of thefts, but the people in charge of bringing the culprits to justice. Let’s take a look then at the reactions from the public and the Police in response to this ongoing issue.
It cannot be an easy task for the people in charge of dealing with the thefts of owners prized possessions. Motorcycle thieves are almost always seen wearing helmets and motorcycle clothing, making a visual ID practically impossible. Furthermore, when a bike is stolen, thieves can abuse the maneuverability of two wheel machines through the congestion of London for an easy escape.
Another factor is the ‘No Chase’ rule - Implemented after the unauthorised chase of a stolen moped lead to the rider losing his life, the ‘No Chase’ rule governs officers involved in a pursuit to stop if the fleeing rider is endangering their own life to get away. Recently, thieves have been seen removing their helmets whilst being chased, increasing the risk to their own lives in an attempt to halt a pursuit.
How then are police able to make any headway with reducing the number of motorcycle thefts?
Operation ‘Venice’ is their answer. It is the specialised unit within the Metropolitan Police tasked with reducing the number of stolen mopeds and motorcycles. This task force have been conducting targeted operations, mass checks on parked up mopeds and raids on individuals suspected of stealing two wheel transport or using them to commit crimes.
Detective Superintendent Raffaele D’Orsi, lead for Operation Venice said: “The MPS is committed to detecting, disrupting and arresting those involved in moped and motorcycle theft and enabled crime. The police, the motorcycle industry, and riders must do everything possible to prevent the activity of those involved in these offences.”
However, with numbers in the police service their lowest since 1985, will their efforts prove fruitful?
There has been outcry from riders and the victims of this latest crime wave for justice to be brought to perpetrators.
This reaction is easy to understand, as the figures of stolen mopeds and motorcycles continue to increase despite the best efforts of the police. The statistics in 2016 showed that nearly 65 bikes were stolen every day in the capital. The estimated value of all thefts totals to more than £28 million.
Some owners have reported thefts of more than one of their bikes in the same year, with even our own customers experiencing this. Aside from the emotional and financial stress this places on someone who commutes on two wheels, this can have catastrophic effects on insurance premiums. Some providers have even declined to insure riders, removing their mode of transport entirely.
Riders in London have called for immediate action with many rallies and protests having been held over recent months in an attempt to encourage change. #WeRideLondon is the group behind one of the rides and is calling for swifter action against those involved in bike theft and motorized crime.
Metropolitan police have responded, calling on bike owners to improve the security of their machines, with the tagline ‘lock, chain, cover’, encouraging riders to purchase industry leading bike locks, ground anchors and covers to help deter criminals. Quality security is an additional cost, with some riders even seeking assistance towards the cost.
In response to videos of bikes being stolen in broad daylight, bikers have even threatened to take action against the criminals themselves using old bikes to lure the criminals into an ambush. The Met Police have advised strongly against this, stating that it “does not support activities by individuals or groups who target suspected criminals” and any action taken by individuals “could jeopardise or interfere with ongoing investigations”.
It seems at this point then that the public and Police are at a crossroads, both of which fighting the regulations which restrict their abilities to take stronger action against the scourge of two wheel theft. With changes rumoured to be coming in regard to the ‘No Chase’ rule, there is hope for a reduction of motorcycle and moped theft in the near future.
BikeTrac is keen to assist with the protection and recovery of stolen motorcycles by offering both the renowned tracking device (with over a 90% recovery rate) and the HARD Security Range, featuring a truly portable lock, chain and carrying bag, as well as a tough ground anchor solution too. You can find more information on our products here.
NOTE: Since first publishing this blog, we have been notified of some recent successful police raids, based on intelligence gained from BikeTrac recovery locations. This data and other intelligence has allowed police to make significant arrests and disrupt the pattern of theft in certain areas.
The fight continues...