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Police withhold theft footage

Published: 25 February 2011

Police are withholding CCTV evidence that immobilisers can be overcome by thieves, on the grounds they don’t want to attract criticism from a motorcycle manufacturer.

The Met’s DC Alex Saxby has confirmed CCTV footage appears to show an immobiliser-equipped superbike being ridden away under its own steam within minutes of thieves approaching.

The immobiliser should make it impossible to start without the key.

The footage would allow MCN to challenge the manufacturer on how the theft was possible and could prompt any weaknesses in the immobiliser system to be addressed.      

But Met Police spokesman Nigel Newman has refused to release it, saying: ‘If the CCTV was used in a manner that supported criticism of any individual or organisation, the fact the Metropolitan Police Service released it may imply endorsement of that position.’

In a written statement, Newman also said: ‘When police obtain CCTV footage for the purpose of a criminal investigation, we do so under certain constraints. If we pass on that CCTV footage for someone else then we risk being criticised.

‘For example, CCTV must be pixelated to remove innocent members of the public from identification; it requires the consent of the CCTV owner; it requires the consent (in this case) of the owner of the stolen bike.’

MCN has offered to obscure any faces and the owner of the bike filmed being stolen from east London has called for the footage to be released.

Tim Donnelly said: “I would like other motorcyclists to be fully aware of and perhaps be in a position to get things changed.”

Newman told MCN: ‘I welcome your persistence in trying to get me to pass the CCTV to you - but I am equally resolute in not doing so as it may contravene what I am authorised to do.’

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