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Your location has huge effect on police action after bike theft

Published: 17 May 2019

Updated: 16 May 2019

Where you live can have a dramatic impact on the likelihood of recovering your motorcycle if it’s stolen because of the number of crimes which are not investigated, according to new figures.

This is because many police forces 'screen' a crime report before an investigation begins to work out the likelihood of securing a conviction, with as many as 81% of crimes going uninvestigated.

If there is no available CCTV, witnesses or an obvious source of forensic evidence, for example, the case is often closed within 24 hours, leaving the public confused and frustrated.

The Metropolitan Police for instance dropped 32.8% of crimes without investigating them in 2017, meaning nearly 40,000 crimes went completely untackled. Bedfordshire Police screened out 43.8% of alleged offences, while Wiltshire screened out 56.7%.

Greater Manchester Police, meanwhile, screened out 81% of all bike thefts. An investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches programme found that 22 forces across the UK screened out an average of 27% of crimes – nearly one million offences in total.

"The National Police Chiefs Council say they have to make difficult decisions about where best to focus their time and resources," says Dr Ken German, Vehicle Crime Consultant to the Police.

"They have to think how the public would want them to use their time, which means focusing resources where there's greatest harm and where they can secure a positive outcome."

Thankfully, for bikers in other areas, the picture is much better. Devon and Cornwall Police screened fewer than 8% of their motorcycle crimes, while in North Wales it was less than 3%.

What’s more, at just one third of the way through the year, bike crime on the whole appears to be on the decline. Part of the reason for this is that with the police focusing on gangs who are connected to much more serious crimes such as drug trafficking and violence, they have by default also been 'removing' those who are often associated with petty vehicle thefts.

Other campaigns, such as the 'Shop a Chop Shop' in the West Midlands, have turned up plenty of evidence with a genuine hope in the industry that we may have turned the corner.


Expert opinion: Dr. Ken German, Crime Consultant

"Today we must assume our motorcycles, security and leisure activities are all under scrutiny by a potential thief. Best advice is to think like a thief and react like the police.

"Use a proven tracking device as you’ve a 90%+ chance of getting it back quickly. Mark as many of its parts as possible with DNA and transponder info.

"You’ll get your bike back and, even if you don’t want it in bits, you’ve the reassurance you gave the cops a chance to lock up the bas***d that nicked it."

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