London’s Metropolitan Police are using specially trained drivers to take down offenders on scooters and motorbikes in response to thousands of moped crimes including mobile phone theft and bag snatching.
- Met Police have reported decrease of 3,931 scooter crimes in London since implementing new pursuit tactics
- Video released by police shows pursuit vehicles shunting scooter riders off their bike, even at high speed
- Police hope video will demonstrate full range of tactics to make offenders think twice about their actions
Scotland Yard released footage showing tactics by drivers to take down two-wheeled criminals, with police cars shunting riders off their bikes and onto the road — even during high-speed pursuits — in an effort to stop the targets in their tracks.
The Met said the tactics can be employed even when riders drive dangerously and discard their helmets.
It comes amid thousands of reported crimes conducted on scooters in the English capital, with some criminals stealing up to 30 phones in an hour and victims often targeted outside London tube stations.
Police officers had been reluctant to chase scooters — some driven at high speeds by suspects below the age of 18 — amid fears of injury or death.
Officers say they have encountered a number of myths among perpetrators, including that if they take their helmets off they will not be pursued.
Police hoped the video would demonstrate the full range of tactics to make potential offenders think twice about their actions.
“The Met is at the forefront of tackling moped and motorcycle crime and I am pleased to see that we have seen a reduction in offences. However, we are not complacent and we will continue to work tirelessly across London to maintain this downward trend,” commander Amanda Pearson said in a statement.
“Operation Venice can call on all manner of tactics from an experienced investigation team, to police helicopters, to tackle and arrest offenders.
“There is a perception that if you remove your helmet or fail to stop for police when requested to do so we will not take any further course of action. This is untrue.
“The public quite rightly expects us to intervene to keep London safe. Our highly trained police drivers weigh up the risks and decide upon the most appropriate tactics in those circumstances.”
Tactics also include using remote-controlled spikes to burst bike tyres and providing officers with special marking spray to fire at suspects.
Three crashes between police and scooter drivers are being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, although none of those cases involve the Met’s specialist team set up to tackle scooter crime.
The police reported there were 3,931 fewer offences in 2018 so far than in the equivalent time last year.
“Offenders on mopeds and motorcycles who attempt to evade the police are making a choice that puts themselves and others at risk,” Commander Pearson said.
“So our message is clear: we can, we will and we do target those involved in moped and motorcycle crime at every opportunity.”