Acting Sergeant Richard Charlesworth, Hillingdon’s lead for motor vehicle crime, explains more.
Q. What are the stats for this kind of crime?
A. Figures show that approximately 14,500 scooters & motorcycles were stolen in London in the year from 1st July 2016 – 30th June 2017, compared to just under 11,000 in the previous 12 months. Looking at the figures for Hillingdon for the last 6 months, there’s an average of about 30 bikes or scooters stolen each month.
Acting Sergeant Charlesworth is responsible for the Safer Neighbourhood Teams on the Pinkwell and Heathrow Villages wards.
Q. Do you know why these scooters are being stolen?
A. There are a number of reasons. Some are taken for joyriding, others might be sold or broken up for parts, and some are taken to be used to commit other offences such as thefts and robberies. I think criminals tend to use scooters for these offences because they’re easy to ride and unfortunately pretty easy to steal too.
Q. What are the police in Hillingdon doing about it?
A. We’re using a number of different methods to tackle this problem. We’re giving out crime prevention advice face-to-face at various events across the Borough, PC Solanki held a particularly good crime prevention stand at Halfords in Ruislip recently. See picture below.
This advice is also available on our Facebook page and via our Twitter feed @MPSHillingdon. We’ve increased uniformed patrolling to deter criminals in high risk areas and then there’s covert patrols in unmarked cars. – this is a favourite of mine as it gives us a chance of catching offenders in the act.
Q. Have you had any success?
A. Yes, and the harder we work the luckier we get. We’ve made a number of arrests for drug offences which is always good news as we know that drug use and dealing does tend to fuel other crime such as theft. Probably the best result so far though was from PCs Shah & Phillips who were out in the unmarked car in the small hours and spotted a couple of males with motorbike helmets but no bike. They were searched and found to have screwdrivers and hammers with them so were arrested for Going Equipped. A possible theft was prevented and two suspects went in the cells.
Q. What can people do to stop their scooter being stolen?
A. The message we’re giving is to “layer up” on security. A scooter with no locks on it can be pushed or ridden away in a matter of seconds. A lock on the front brake disc is a good start, if you can then add another layer such as a chain around the back wheel then you’re making you’re scooter a lot more secure.
The Met’s released a great little video to raise awareness: See above
I’d encourage anybody who gets around on two wheels to get some locks and #SecureYourScooter
Q. What about other vehicle crime?
A. Unfortunately, criminals will break into cars if there’s anything at all left inside. A pair of sunglasses left on the dash or an old jacket on the seat might not seem worth stealing to you, but to a criminal they’re easy money #ThinkLikeAThief and leave nothing on view.
It’s also important to make sure your car is locked. Our figures show that of all vehicles that have contents stolen, around 20% had been left insecure so do remember to #LockYourCar