London mayor Sadiq Khan has said that motorcycle manufacturers need to ‘step up’ and make bikes more difficult steal as he met with members of Britain’s Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA).
An MCIA delegation including representatives from insurance companies and security product manufacturers joined bosses from scooter and motorcycle manufacturers to discuss the motorcycle theft epidemic that is currently affecting the capital.
Khan said: “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.”
MCIA CEO Tony Campbell hit back, adding: “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.
“For many hard working Londoners, motorcycles and scooters are the only realistic form of commuter transport, in terms of affordability, reliability and ease of movement. We will do whatever we can to help make sure that riders can go about their business safely on the streets of London and are working closely with both the Metropolitan Police and the Home Office to play our part in achieving this.”
Campbell added: “This was a good opportunity to demonstrate how seriously manufacturers are taking this problem and to update the Mayor on some of the initiatives he may not have been fully aware of.
“We have explained to the Mayor that a ‘layered’ approach to security is proving to be the most effective and realistic way of making theft more difficult. This uses a combination of new technologies like ‘tagging’ and ‘tracking’ and riders are encouraged to always supplement this with physical security in the form of locks and chains. But 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.”
According to the mayor’s figures, last year there were over 14,000 thefts of motorcycles in London and 23,430 crimes were committed using motorcycles in the capital. That equates to an average of 64 a day and a 163% increase on the previous year.
During the meeting, Khan asked bike manufacturers to improve the design of new motorcycles, to make them more resistant to theft, while also requesting that additional security devices be retrofitted to existing models to make them more difficult to steal. He also suggested a greater collaboration between the bike manufacturers on their ‘Be Safe’ campaign.
He 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.”
Commander Julian Bennet from the Metropolitan Police added: “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 MCIA confirmed that it is working with the Home Office to the issue of theft and scooter crimes, as well as developing its MASTER Security Scheme and working with the Met Police on the Be Safe campaign, which is due to be launched later this year.