Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 21st July 2014

Tagging motorbikes has reduced the rate of theft, figures from the Motorcycle Crime Reduction Group show.

A total of 52,687 motorcycles have been registered under the MASTER (Motorcycle and Scooter Tagged Equipment Register) security scheme since it was launched. Of these, just 403 have been stolen. This represents a rate of theft of 0.76%, compared with a historical average 2.6%, P&H Motorcycles reported.

Around 26,000 motorcycles are stolen in the UK every year, including unregistered and untagged vehicles, but it has been estimated that this could be reduced by 18,000 if all new motorbikes are MASTER tagged.

Developed by the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCI) and backed by the Home Office and the Metropolitan Police, the MASTER scheme enables new motorcycles and scooters to be sold tagged, marked and registered to their owner. Major manufacturers that have signed up for MASTER include Honda, Ducati, BMW, Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki, KTM, Triumph, Suzuki, Yamaha, Victory and Indian.

Introduced just two years ago, the scheme covers only newly manufactured bikes. On the other hand, they are also the ones more likely to get stolen, MCI chief executive Steve Kenward explained, pointing to the fact that motorcycle theft is centred on bikes that are three years old or less. Because of that, the full effect of MASTER will be evident in another two years, he said.

Tagged motorcycles are easy for thieves to spot, because the marking is displayed on a prominent position of the machine – alerting criminals not to bother with it at all. Even if they do, the tags are designed to disintegrate if someone tries to remove them, making a resell of the stolen bike virtually impossible.