London Mayor call for better motorcycle security

The following is a media release by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan issued on the 23 January 2018 and below is the Motorcycle Industry Association's response.

Makers to be called on to change design to help prevent motorcycles being stolen

Motorcycle manufacturers are attending a summit at City Hall today (23 January) where the Mayor will tell them it is vital that they help defeat motorcycle-related crime – which includes mopeds and scooters – in the capital by designing anti-theft measures into their vehicles.

Last year* there were over 14,000 thefts of motorcycles in London and 23,430 crimes were committed using motorcycles in the capital – an average of 64 a day and a 163 per cent increase compared to the previous year. 

Representatives from Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, BMW and Piaggio have been invited to meet with the Metropolitan Police, MOPAC, the Motorcycle Industry Association and Secure by Design at City Hall today. During the meeting the Mayor will strongly emphasise the importance of manufacturers taking responsibility for their customers and the safety of all Londoners and taking action to help ‘design out’ motorcycle -related offences.

The Mayor has tasked manufacturers with improving the design of new motorcycles to make them more difficult to steal. He would also like to see a range of short-term actions introduced to tackle the problem in existing models, such as retrofitting security devices and closer collaboration between manufacturers and the Met on the Be Safe campaign, launched to raise awareness with scooter riders of what they can do to reduce the risk of their vehicle being stolen.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Motorcycle-related crime is reckless, frightening, intimidating and will not be tolerated in the capital.

“I have tasked the Met with stemming the increase, and they have responded with targeted intelligence-led operations, increased arrests and new tactics. But this is a problem that cannot be solved with policing alone.

“Today I am bringing manufacturers and partners together to help us stamp it out once and for all.

“It is essential that the manufacturers step up to help us tackle this problem at the source. Put simply, the design of motorcycles make them far too easy to steal and this must be dealt with head-on at the point of design if we are to rid our streets of these crimes.”

Today’s meeting will be chaired by the Deputy Mayor of London for Policing & Crime, Sophie Linden, and it will set out an action plan for a major co-ordinated effort to prevent and root out these reckless, intimidating crimes that can have horrific consequences. Most motorcycle crime is carried out on stolen vehicles, so making them harder to steal in the first place is essential.

Commander Julian Bennet, Territorial Policing , said: “Police are working hard to keep the public safe and make the streets hostile territory for criminals who steal scooters, mopeds, motorbikes and bicycles. In addition to making the vehicles harder to steal in the first place we deploy a range of proactive tactics on a daily basis to prevent the vehicles being used by criminals who snatch mobile phones and other valuables from unsuspecting members of the public.

“We welcome any initiatives that make stealing these vehicles as hard as possible to curtail the criminal actions of these offenders. This includes working with industry, manufacturers, insurance companies and the motorcycle industry association to identify what can be done to prevent theft and to see what theft prevention measures can be designed into these vehicles for the future.” 

The Met is working extremely hard to tackle this issue through a number of operations on the ground, building intelligence and running targeted prevention campaigns. The Met’s Be Safe campaign encourages riders to layer up their security to reduce their visibility to thieves and encourages all Londoners to be aware of their surroundings.

The Met and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) continue to work with the motorcycle industry to see what more they can do to help reduce the theft of motorcycles which drives this crime. The Mayor previously met with the Motorcycle Crime Prevent Community, London’s police and partners in September 2017. Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, has also met with delivery drivers including Jabed Hussain, who was the victim of an acid attack in July 2017.

All Londoners are urged to remain vigilant - be aware of your surroundings, take care of your personal items such as mobile phones, consider using hands-free on the street, use security features to lock keypads, wipe data remotely, and identify stolen devices. Most importantly, if you see any suspicious activity of have any information about who is committing these crimes please call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Adie Kitachi, Motorcycle Action Group, said: “As the Motorcycle Security Consultant for Motorcycle Action Group (M.A.G) I'm very happy to be working with the Mayor of London and MOPAC to help reduce motorcycle-related crime. 

“We're working in partnership to launch a new initiative to educate bikers in both securing their machines effectively and personal security awareness. In reaching out to bikers we aim to listen to their concerns and share useful tips and Ideas. 

“These 'Night Surgeries' will be featured at busy venues such as the Ace Cafe, where I'll be working alongside the Mayor's Night Czar Amy Lamé. I'm also in direct contact with both motorcycle and security device manufacturers; together we're working at making motorcycles harder, and less tempting, to steal.”

Notes to editors

*There were 14,030 motorcycle thefts and 23,430 motorcycled-enabled crimes in the last rolling year (to end of December 2017).

Operation Venice, launched in July 2017, provides the overarching approach to tackle the more violent, smash and grab offences enabled by motorcycles, as well as tackling motorcycle theft at hotspot locations such as Camden and Islington. Operation Venice has four strands: prevent, protect, prepare and pursue. Officers are continuing to conduct checks on stationary and moving vehicles, high visibility patrols in key areas. Tactics deployed by the Met include:

  • Four new specialist lightweight scrambler bikes
  • Mobile stingers
  • Forensic DNA tagging spray – Trained officers are spraying the invisible liquid onto suspects. The liquid contains a unique synthetic DNA code and UV marker that clings to the skin and cannot be removed.
  • Enhanced taskforce model – The Met is using previously successful operations by Trident and Sceptre to roll-out an enhanced taskforce model, targeting those who have committed the most offences. An intelligence monitoring and tasking function will operate within the MPS 24/7 pan-London control room to coordinate resources to provide an agile response to intelligence or crimes as they happen.
  • The Met’s Be Safe campaign, launched in June 2017, raises awareness with riders of what they can do to reduce the risk of their vehicle being stolen:  
  • Met police policy – in line with nationally approved guidance – does not preclude a pursuit from continuing when a rider or pillion removes their helmet. It also does not preclude tactical contact. When in pursuit, officers, their tactical advisors and the senior officer in charge must constantly review the risk posed by continuing, balanced against the type of criminality under consideration and the risk posed to all road users. It is important that officers feel confident and able to take appropriate action when pursuing suspects on mopeds.  It is also important that the law and any guidelines protect and do not hinder the police. If police were to make new representations for a change in the law the Mayor’s office will listen to them and will support them if those new proposals will better protect and support police officers pursuing moped crime.



Motorcycle Industry Association Response

The CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) has responded to the London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s comments whereby he called upon manufacturers to “design out” the issue of motorcycle theft. The MCIA say there is no “magic bullet” that can help.

In a recent City Hall meeting regarding moped and motorcycle crime in the capital, the Mayor strongly emphasised that big manufacturers such as BMW, Honda and Suzuki should take more responsibility for the issue and their customers safety by making motorbikes harder to steal in the first place. He said: “It is essential that manufacturers step up to help us tackle this problem at the source. Put simply, the design of motorcycles make them far too easy to steal and this must be dealt with head-on at the point of design if we are to ride our streets of these crimes.”

Tony Campbell, the MCIA’s CEO, responded to the Mayors comments earlier today: “We know the Mayor would like to hear there is a magic bullet which can be fitted to all bikes to stop them from being stolen, but unfortunately, there isn’t. If there was, we would be fitting it, as theft is particularly damaging to business and to our customers.”

Campbell also added that the focus should be on providing better security measures, including more secure parking facilities. “They need something to lock their bikes to, which is where City Hall can make a difference, in providing more secure parking across London.

“Powered two wheelers are a solution in reducing congestion in the capital, improve air quality and relieve the pressure on parking, as they do in other European cities. They need to be properly factored into London’s transport planning over the long term and secure parking is one of the elements to ensure this is successful.”