Is motorcycle crime in the UK now an epidemic?
The media of late is rife with the news that motorcycle crime is on the increase. In fact, read any British newspaper or type into Google “Motorcycle Crime” and there will be array of new stories, detailing the blatancy of thieves stealing motorcycles in broad daylight.
I’m heading back to the UK next spring and I wanted to know if it is worth buying a brand new motorcycle, when the probability of it getting stolen is high. Is it just a media frenzy being created to give motorcycles bad press, or to highlight the lack of policing in the City of London? Or is this an epidemic spreading throughout the UK?
I contacted the Office of National Statistics (ONS) via a freedom of information request. They stated that didn’t have any official figures of motorcycles stolen.
In respect of the number of two-wheeled vehicles stolen, the ONS do not separately identify thefts of vehicles. Even the data held by the Home Office contains those that are convicted of a crime. This obviously doesn’t take into consideration the amount of crime that goes undetected.
The Metropolitan Police have a campaign underway to highlight the massive number of motorcycles stolen in the City. Figures released report that there were 9,500 offences last year equating to a total of around £28 million a year in stolen mopeds and motorcycles. Other counties have the same issue, albeit not on such a big scale. Cambridgeshire police have received 14 reports of motorcycles that have been stolen in Peterborough in October 2017. Dorset Police has received at least 47 reports of thefts or attempted thefts of motorcycles since February 2017.
There is a deep under current of anger over the ever increasing moped criminal, as they operate mostly without impunity. Criminals steal bikes to commit other crimes such as other vehicle theft, robbery, or gang related incidents. There is a deep unrest now, whereby citizens are now capturing these thefts on phone cameras. They use the footage to report to police and/or to post them on social media.
Many social media sites have posts, detailing either the crimes that take place, or ways to stop your own motorcycle being stolen. Various vigilante groups have now started to hit back. So what are the police doing to counter this increase in crime? It’s interesting to note that, the majority of posts on social media, don’t actually blame the police for a lack of involvement. They understand that the Police are indeed governed by guidelines that limit them to a number of actual pursuits.
I remember in the 90’s, when there was a epidemic of TWOCing (Taking Without Consent) hot hatchback cars. In order to counter this, the police invested in their own high powered cars in order to carry out pursuit. Humberside Police originally had a fleet of Subaru Impreza’s which have now been replaced by a couple of 5.0-litre V8 Lexus capable of reaching 62mph in 4.8 seconds but with the top speed electronically limited to 168mph.
It seems that the Police are now coming round to that way of thinking with motorcycles. Operation Venice is underway in London whereby officers have been conducting targeted operations and high visibility patrols in key areas. I don’t feel that this is enough, as they are still bound by the strict pursuant guidelines.
The Metropolitan Police have some highly experienced police riders that can’t be chase criminals for safety reasons. Instead they have to use other methods such as spiked stingers to stop the bikes, or DNA spray that sticks to clothes. Lets be honest though, I think they are really clutching at straws with this one.
More needs to be done to combat this increase in motorcycle crime. The police have already got a fleet of motorcycles including the newly purchased BMW F800GS but, the police are still limited in their pursuit methods. There needs to be an overhaul of the current rules regarding pursuing these criminals, without harming the public. The only way to change this, however is through central government. This means we have to take action and lobby our local MP or petition Parliament, until we are heard.
In the mean time, i’ll work towards searching Google for the 10 best security aids for your motorcycle!