The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is cracking down on powered two wheeler (PTW) enabled crime with the help of the Motorcycle Industry Association in a new campaign aimed at bike owners.

There were over 9,900 moped, scooter and motorcycles reported stolen across London in the 12 months from April 2014 to March 2015 - or put simply 27 stolen in London every single day.

It is difficult to determine the overall cost of this crime to victims, but applying an average value of £3,000 to each machine stolen, then the total value of theft during the last financial year is more than £28 million pounds.

But the overall cost is far higher than that.

Criminals steal bikes to commit other crimes such as other vehicle theft, robbery, serious youth violence, and gang related incidents. Mobile phone crime and ‘snatch’ robberies from thieves on bikes/mopeds are a particular problem in certain areas with monthly figures for moped/motorbike associated crimes committed this year showing an increase from 241 in January to 392 in June.

Police intelligence suggests that organised crime groups are targeting older high powered motorbikes, which are not protected by the Official MASATER Scheme, some of which can cost up to £15,000, and which can be broken down into parts and re-sold. These are usually stolen by being lifted into the back of vans or sometimes by using another scooter in a method called ‘ped-push’. Lower powered machines and scooters are stolen by conventional hot-wiring. The suspects will then drive the machine away and use it for a short period for joy-riding or as a getaway vehicle in commercial or personal robberies before ditching it.

Given the number of riders who don’t use any physical form of security when parked up in London its easy to see why criminals turn to them first.

In both cases the MPS say it is vital that owners take extra care to deter criminals, prevent easy removal and do what they can to help with vehicle identification. The MCI and the MPS are talking to London’s dealers to make sure they are aware of the consequences of motorcycle theft over the theft of the vehicle and what is being done to tackle it, urging them to ensure they always advise customers about locks and security in general.

Detective Superintendent Raffaele D’Orsi, lead for Operation Venice, the Met’s response to PTW and enabled crimes said:“The MPS is committed to detecting, disrupting and arresting those involved in moped and motor cycle 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. We are already working with industry to make these vehicles harder to steal, but I urge all riders to also improve the security of their vehicles. By everyone playing their part, we can thwart the thieves who steal these vehicles to perpetrate further crimes."

Steve Kenward, acting Chief Executive Officer of the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA), said: “The MCIA are very pleased to be able to support the MPS in tackling scooter enabled crime. By taking simple steps to secure their machines, riders in the capital can do their bit as well as help the wider campaign of raising awareness."

Under Operation Venice during the last few months officers have been conducting targeted operations, mass checks on parked up mopeds, raids on individuals suspected of stealing PTW vehicles or using them to commit crimes, high visibility patrols in key areas, ANPR deployments and provision of free locks to owners at motor cycle parking bays.

This week officers in the ten most hit boroughs will be attaching handlebar hangers at hotspots across the capital that provide advice on security and offer owners the chance to get a free Oxford products disc lock and discounted Datatag system for a limited time period. The hangers will also encourage riders to invest money in buying the best quality locks on the market in order to gain the best security in the longer term and if not fitted with the Official Industry MASTER Security Marking Scheme fit a Datatag Security System.

During the first two days of the campaign Datatag have also been in attendance in Wandsworth and Camden to offer free fitting of their Scooter Security System, which owners could purchase at a discount.

Dave Luscombe of Datatag said ‘Given the numbers being stolen in the capital its worrying to see so many not using disc locks or chains. Hopefully this message will get through with this campaign. We’ve had many positive discussions with riders about the campaign and also about our technologies fitted as standard through the MASTER Scheme and available as retro fit to older bikes.’

Advice to riders is

  • Choose designated parking with a stand and security loop, or if this is not available try areas with lots of people, good lighting and CCTV
  • Locks - use more than one - focus on disc locks, D locks and chain locks, fitted tight to the bike and through difficult to remove parts. Additionally try to keep the lock off the ground to avoid hammer attack
  • When leaving your bike for a long period or overnight, lock it to something secure and use a cover. At home consider fitting ground anchors to secure your bike
  • Consider fitting a Thatcham Approved Tracking system
  • If not already protected under the industry MASTER Scheme - mark your bike and components with an aftermarket Datatag Motorcycle or Scooter Security System
  • Make sure you use your audible alarms to draw unwanted attention to the thieves
  • Finally secure the back wheel of your bike, rather than front as front wheels are generally easier to remove.
    Overall the message is simple

Lock it! - make life as difficult as possible for thieves to take your bike

Tag it! - deter theft and if stolen aid recovery by fitting a simple Datatag Security System