With car thefts rising across the country, a new group has been formed by policing minister Nick Hurd to take action.
The taskforce intends to emulate the recent successes seen in London across the rest of the UK. A similar model in the capital was able to reduced moped-related crime by a third, with the police taking bold tactics to stop criminals.
Plans are in place for the new vehicle theft taskforce to publish a new nationwide action plan, and also ensure best practice is shared between partners.
A shocking increase in car crime has prompted the new taskforce. Across the country, vehicle crime has risen by 7 per cent in the past twelve months alone, ‘leaving no community unaffected’.
Attendees at the first meeting included representatives from the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Association of British Insurers, and West Midlands Police.
Theft of vehicles has risen after decades of decline. I have convened a cross sector task force to develop a new plan to prevent & disrupt increasingly organised crime.Thx to @PoliceChiefs @WMPolice @MOPACLdn @CITS_UK @BritishInsurers @ThatchamRsrch @WestMidsPCC for input pic.twitter.com/r57id3DJPc
— Nick Hurd (@NickHurdUK) January 15, 2019
Underground chop shops and relay thefts driving crime
The inclusion of West Midlands Police is significant, as the force area has suffered a staggering 100 per cent increase in vehicle thefts during the past four years.
A network of ‘chop shops’ – illegal garages repairing written-off cars with parts from stolen vehicles – has been blamed by the force for fuelling the increase in thefts. Cars can be specifically stolen to order, with high-end vehicles the most profitable.
Keyless entry ‘relay attacks’ have also been described as an ‘epidemic’ by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner. These thefts allow criminals to steal cars without using the keys, with equipment available online for relatively low prices.
‘Swift and decisive action’
Whilst chairing the first meeting of the taskforce, Policing Minister Nick Hurd said: “We are determined to take swift and decisive action on emerging crime threats. With rates of vehicle theft increasing, I am keen to ensure everything is being done to prevent these crimes”.
Part of the challenge for the new taskforce will be tackling a problem which has spread across the country. Whilst the surge in moped crime was primarily focused on London, chop shops and relay thefts are an issue facing almost all police forces.
The taskforce aims to improve standards in vehicle security, along with investigating how best to prevent criminals from exploiting the salvage process for written-off cars. It is due to meet again in six months’ time.