Over the last few months I have had an increasing number of emails from constituents in regards to moped crime. I find the recent rise in such crime very concerning and I want to reassure the community that I am working very hard with all stakeholders to try and mitigate this problem.
Moped crime, involves the theft of a moped as well as its use in criminal activity such as assault and robbery. The Metropolitan Police Service states that, in the 12 months to May 2017, over 15,000 scooters, motorcycles and mopeds were stolen in London, and were used in the commission of over 14,000 crimes. Overall incidence of this crime has increased by more than 10 times since 2012. This is in part due to the relative ease of stealing a moped and the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) policy to prevent drivers from pursuing criminals who do not wear a helmet.
I recently met with Lewisham Councils Executive Director for Community Services and spoke with the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime on these issues. They told me that this policy has been reviewed and that trained Police are now able to chase criminals if the driver is confident that the risk to the public is low, there are special techniques the Police can use when pursuing a moped. This will help curb the problem but it still remains that scooters are easily broken into. To this end I have sent a letter to the motorbike manufacturing industry to put pressure on them to implement the use of more sophisticated technology to make it a lot harder to steal mopeds in the first place.
The Government have stated "there is no single quick fix" to this and believe it is therefore "vital that we work together - industry, law enforcement, Government and civil groups - to understand the various drivers of this crime and how they can be met head-on." Home Office ministers have held a summit bringing together motor and insurance industry leaders, law enforcement agencies, local government agencies, youth charities and motorist groups, to confront the emerging threat of motorcycle-related crime.
However, I am worried that serious crimes such as these are rising in part due to the impact of Government policies, particularly stretched police resources and significant reductions in neighbourhood policing. I hope the Government will listen carefully to the concerns that have been raised on this issue and consider how best to move forward in tackling these reckless and dangerous crimes.
I have met the Police Borough Commander for Bromley and will be meeting the Borough Commander of Lewisham shortly to discuss these issues further. I have also spoken to the Deputy Mayor for Police and Crime. This is an ongoing issue and a concern for me which I will continue to track the progress of and call for change.