Life on bikes

Bike thieves – Let the cops take the gloves off

Swarms of moped riding criminals are taking the mickey out of the police. It’s time to get tough and for the pussy-footing approach to bike thieves to be replaced with a firmer approach.

If DI Jack Regan were still around, there would be no messing around putting the safety of a criminal before banging him up and throwing away the keys.

The tough approach of the Flying Squad of the ’70’s, both the TV and the real version, is what’s called for today to deal with today’s masked villains. The moped riding ones.

Before you get the wrong idea, let’s be quite clear: We cannot condone views, often expressed by bikers on our Facebook page and many others, that bike thieves are better off dead, mutilated or done over with a baseball bat.

No machine is worth more than a human life. Even when they are a bike thief. Period. End of.

That said, if a motorcycle thief is prepared to steal your property and is equally prepared to ride your bike at dangerous speeds, endangering other road users and pedestrians, then everything possible short of loss of life must be done to stop them.

It’s come to the point where, like old-fashioned bank robbers running around in ’70’s Transit vans, bike thieves and moped muggers need to be sorted out, with no more pussy-footing around by the police.

What would The Sweeney do?

When a criminal decides to commit a crime in effect they enter into a contract with society: ‘I will do everything in my power to steal your property. In return I expect you to do anything you can to stop me.’

If that means ramming, nudging or otherwise forcefully stopping them from making further progress, that is what needs to be done. If they are hurt in the process, that is the risk they decided to take. They need to be stopped, arrested and face suitable punishment.

Any other resolution is a failure of the justice system.

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Why aren’t bike thieves being dealt with?

The problem is, with crimes involving the pursuit of a motorcycle, the guidance that police officers must follow has serious flaws. Flaws that mean if there is a risk of serious injury to the offender any pursuing officer must back off.

The thieves know this, which is why they now act with such brazen immunity. They are happy to be quickly identified by the lack of a number plate on their stolen scooter. They have no problem whipping out angle grinders on a busy street, attacking a bike in full view of an audience busy filming everything on their iPhones.

They don’t care because they know they have very little chance of being caught, under the current rules that govern police pursuits.

They need to be stopped

We are well aware the guidance, legislation and rules covering the pursuit of stolen motorcycles (and mopeds used to commit other crimes) is complex and there ain’t no quick fix.

We know the high-ups in the National Police Chiefs Council are looking at their own guidance. Officers themselves are working to get an exemption from prosecution for Dangerous Driving during a pursuit.

The problem is people are being attacked and their bikes are being taken at an alarming rate. We need urgent action.

We need dedicated snatch squads, with a bit of grit about them

If the police can’t chase, they need to take an alternative approach on the streets. They need to corner the viscous little thugs and take them, and the knives, acid and guns they carry, off the streets.

If a criminal team of two or three mopeds can’t be pursued by a single patrol car, replace it with three TPAC trained bike operators who can isolate and corner a single bike from the team. One by one, operating in the gang’s known areas, these so called TMAX gangs can be reduced.

When the scrotes realise they are being individually targeted and picked off by these snatch tactics, they’ll soon turn away from bike theft and the easy money it currently offers.

To achieve this, forces would need to set up dedicated motorcycle crime prevention squads, attached to the worst hit police stations and free to roam the worst hit areas. We’ve suggested this before, even pointing out the squads can be moved between areas when needed.

It’s not quite like The Sweeney – like The Met’s Operation Venice, that’s a single team working across a whole city.

It needs multiple teams working at local level, using local knowledge of the streets where the criminal gangs operate.

Yes, this solution means more resources and that means more money, although we would argue it is more cost effective to operate all-rounder bikes than cars anyway.

Look at it like this: How much money is it costing to police the situation in London boroughs like Islington, Southwark and Dagenham? What is the true cost of bike crime to cities like Liverpool, Bristol, Southampton and Edinburgh?

What is the cost to the NHS and businesses when people are traumatised or injured by coming into contact with these criminals? A phone mugging can have serious mental consequences for some victims. Just how productive is someone in the days following their bike being stolen?

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The police need to reallocate resources and deal with the situation

Following the recent acid attacks, on five riders in one night, the national press has picked up on how out of control the situation is and the media knives are likely to come out if the police don’t start to get a grip on it.

Home Secretaries and tough-talking Prime Ministers don’t like it when the media get involved. It loses them votes.

So now is the time to get the money and support required.

If Cressida Dick and other police commanders don’t get down on their knees and beg, if they have to, to get more money out of the Government, they are failing the public at a time when they most need protecting.

If they don’t, we think all public faith will be lost in them, and the rise in vigilantism among bikers will start to spiral. Then the police will have two sets of problems to deal with.

It’s time to act.

If you have read this far, thank you. We know it’s a bit of a click-bait headline and the hotheads who just want to beat bike thieves up will have stopped reading some time ago.

If you think our call for multiple dedicated motorcycle crime prevention squads makes sense, please share this article far and wide so we can get the ‘snatch squads’ idea out there.

 

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The Author

Norm Deplume

Norm Deplume

Norm! Big bloke on a big bike.

Loves an adventure, takes no prisoners, takes no drugs (anymore).

He likes to keep things mysterious, mainly because he already has another job and his employer might not approve...