Theresa May backs police over controversial tactic of ramming cars into moped criminals

Prime Minister says tactic of knocking criminals off mopeds is needed to tackle crime

Andrew Woodcock
Sunday 02 December 2018 11:37
Comments
Met release video montage showing police driver tactics used to tackle moped and motorcycle crimes

Theresa May has backed police over controversial new tactics for stopping moped-riding criminals.

The prime minister said a “robust” response was needed from police to what she described as a growing problem of people using mopeds to commit crimes such as phone-snatching.

Scotland Yard last week released dramatic footage showing police vehicles knocking suspects off their scooters.

Senior officers defended the use of “tactical contact”, saying it was needed to stop dangerous chases and has helped reduce moped-enabled crime in London by over a third.

Asked for her view of the tactic during her visit to Argentina for the G20 summit, Ms May said: “I think it is absolutely right.

“These people on these mopeds are acting unlawfully and committing crimes and I think it’s absolutely right that we see a robust police response to that.”

She added: “Moped crime has been an issue of concern for some time now, as it has been growing in certain areas, in particular in London.”

Labour has raised concerns about the approach, which shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said earlier this week was “potentially very dangerous”.

“It shouldn’t be legal for anyone,” said Ms Abbott. “Police are not above the law.”

But Sajid Javid, who revealed in June that his phone was taken in a moped-mugging before he became home secretary, challenged Ms Abbott’s assessment.

“Risk-assessed tactical contact is exactly what we need,” he wrote on Twitter. “Criminals are not above the law.”

The Metropolitan Police said its footage showed tactics that specially-trained drivers are able to use to reduce the need for pursuits and prevent injury occurring to offenders and members of the public.

Force chiefs said there is no maximum speed for police cars to hit mopeds and it is a common misconception among moped thieves that officers will end their pursuit if the suspect drives dangerously or removes their helmet.

The disclosures also prompted questions over protection for police if a suspect is seriously injured in a stop.

Efforts to tackle offenders riding motorcycles and mopeds have come under the spotlight following a spike in incidents in recent years, particularly in London.

Scotland Yard said moped crime can happen “at any time of the day or night”, with some criminals stealing up to 30 phones in an hour.

Latest figures show 12,419 moped offences were recorded across the capital from January to October – a 36 per cent fall compared with the equivalent period of 2017.

Press Association

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in