Video interview: new BMW F750GS-P is a lean, mean thief-busting machine

As MCN reported at the end of January, London's Metropolitan Police have taken delivery of a new fleet of BMW F750GS-P bikes to help in the fight against bike and scooter crime in the capital.

To make sure the bikes were well-suited for the job, BMW consulted PC Clem Jones, a 'scorpion' officer from Operation Venice, who told MCN how it’s been adapted.

"The BMW isn’t a conventional police bike in the sense of having a wide presence," he said. "It’s very streamlined and the back has been slimmed-down to enable us to go the same places the mopeds go – that’s the core aspect behind it."

To achieve this, traditional panniers and blue light 'wand' have been ditched in favour of a clean tail unit and centrally-mounted LED light.

Jones emphasised that creating a new police bike isn’t as simple as buying a new model and putting stickers and lights on it, saying: "To an every day member of the public, they probably think that but the level of testing and development that goes into these bikes is phenomenal.

"Every police-spec component that’s added has to be tested so that it doesn’t interfere with another aspect of the bike including the electronics and ECU. When these go out operationally, they need to be reliable and they need to function."

Jones said that an early iteration of the new LED lighting was found to interfere with the bike's communications so was redesigned.

Along with the new tail, the bikes also get lights and sirens at to the front, a communications system, a BMW factory satnav and additional crash bars.

BMW F750GS-P comms system

The F750GS-P is a direct result of the working relationship the Met have with BMW and the bikes are already attracting attention from other forces in the UK who are trying to tackle moped and scooter crime.

Scott Grimsdall of BMW UK said only a brand with a global presence in emergency vehicles could provide this kind of collaboration and result.

"We’re very pleased to assist the Metropolitan Police with their efforts to tackle moped crime. The F750GS has the agility and versatility to take on all terrains and is uniquely suited to navigate London’s busy streets swiftly and with precision."


Seven special BMW F750GSs help police fight against bike thieves

First published 22 January 2019 by Jordan Gibbons

Met Police with their new fleet of BMW F750GS-P motorbikes

London’s Metropolitan Police have expanded their bike thief catching capability by investing in a fleet of small, agile motorcycles that are well suited to inner city chases.

The seven machines, which were unveiled last week, are to be used by specially-trained ‘scorpion’ officers who form part of the Met’s Operation Venice – a dedicated task force to stem the capital’s rise in motorcycle theft and moped-related crime.

The new BMW F750GS-Ps have been specially-tailored to the specific requirements of the police riders who’ll use them. The Met say that they are well-suited to navigation through London, with their small size and low weight making them more capable of chasing thieves on mopeds than pursuit cars, R1200RTs or R1250RTs.

The bikes have undergone a bespoke redesign with BMW who have been able to fit all the kit needed by officers, such as sirens and radios, without adding any bulk.

Powered by an 850cc parallel twin, the Met say the new bikes offer more than enough shove while also bringing helpful technology such as traction control, ABS and electronic suspension. The Met are the only police force using these bikes for this purpose.

Chief Inspector Jim Corbett, from the Met’s Operation Venice team, said: "Although my officers have, and continue, to reduce moped-enabled crime, we are not complacent and know that offenders still believe they can evade capture when on mopeds.

"These new vehicles will allow our specialist drivers to pursue offenders. Their lightweight design has been specially tailored to help us reduce moped-enabled crime even further."

Met Police officers line up with a new fleet of BMW F750GS-Ps

The Met are very proud of the results achieved with Operation Venice, having considerably cut moped-related crime since a peak in July 2017.

Between December 2017 and November 2018, there were 15,168 mopeds, motorcycles and scooters used in offences. In the same period in 2019 this number fell by 42.5% while motorcycle theft fell by 12.5%.

He added: "Whilst we’re pleased to see the number of stolen vehicles and crimes committed reduce, we are calling on the public to help us reduce moped- enabled crime even further by informing the police of any suspicious activity and adding extra security to their bikes."


New police video targets bike crime

First published 11 February 2019 by Ben Clarke

A police motorcycle crime cartoon

A hard-hitting police video has been released in a bid to cut bike crime and stop scooter thieves terrorising UK streets.

The short video is part of the Met Police force’s ‘Lock, Chain, Cover’ and shows just how much crime can be committed on a stolen machine in just one day. The animation shows a stolen scooter used in several crimes including phone snatches, a ram raid on a jewellery shop and fuel theft. The crime spree is finally brought to an end when officers use tactical contact to stop the offenders in their tracks.

The force say the video highlights the importance of securing your vehicle properly to deter thieves and, "shows how a stolen machine can be used to commit multiple crimes around London affecting several victims."

It also sends out a clear message that police officers are prepared to use tactical contact when appropriate to bring bike thieves to justice. If you want to speak to the Met about tactical contact, bike crime or anything else (within reason) you can find them at the Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle Show between Friday, February 14 and Sunday, February 16.

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Police deploy clever tech to crack crime

First published 11 December 2019 by Ben Clarke

Police work with anti-theft group to recover stolen motorbike

Britain’s leading bike crime expert says that despite a reduction in UK thefts, it’s still a massive problem and has outlined how police are turning to social media and modern tech in a bid to stem the flow of stolen motorcycles.

Dr Ken German, who spent 25 years with the Met’s stolen vehicle squad, told MCN that theft figures for 2019 are expected to hit 24,000 bikes, taking the tally for the last five years to 141,000 machines with a total value of £156m. 

He said: "Only 45% of these will be recovered, leaving 63,400 machines still unaccounted for all presumably cloned, exported or more likely stripped into component parts and sold."

Theft figures aren’t available for all EU countries but with France losing machines at an annual rate of 41,198, Italy 39,029, Germany 14,200 and Spain 8000, Dr German says the black market in motorcycle salvage is huge.

Here are Ken German's top tips for deterring thieves…

  • Lock - Use a disc lock or a grip lock to secure the brake and throttle controls. You could also use a D-lock on the front wheel to stop it being wheeled away.
  • Chain - Use a chain lock through the back wheel. Secure your bike to an immovable object such as a ground anchor or street furniture. Don’t leave any links trailing on the ground.
  • Cover - Thieves often ‘shop’ for particular models. Using a cover makes your bike less attractive to them

Dr German said that the police in the UK are deploying CCTV and Automatic Number Plate Reader (ANPR) cameras in the fight against the criminals and recommend tracking devices, which lead to stolen motorbike recovery in 92% of cases where there’s an active signal.

Police are also fans of hidden DNA marks and passive transponders because they positively identify stolen machines and are often overlooked by the thieves.

Social media and rider groups play a part too, Dr German said: "The stolen vehicle social media pages give officers information on who is doing what and where. Without these aids, motorcycle theft would spiral out of control and forces are therefore working alongside selected volunteer recovery groups rather than branding them vigilantes."

Taking responsibility for your own security is also key in fighting back against bike crime. He said: "Choosing locks and chains, alarms, immobilisers and covers is still hugely important in trying to prevent your machine being stolen. Basic security dissuades 30% of thieves from stealing a motorcycle so everyone has a part to play in stopping this stealing spree."

Dr German is still astounded that seven out of ten owners still do not lock their machines when parked up. He said: "The fact it’s ‘only’ 24,000 bikes is a bit of a result, when you consider that this number of victims standing side by side would constitute a queue nine times around Brands Hatch; it does make you think."

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Ben Clarke

By Ben Clarke

Staff Writer, hick for life, two cylinders max