UK: Police In London Knocks ‘Thieves’ Off Their Bikes To Tackle Crime
November 27th, 2018 / 6:29 PM
Image Credits: The Guardian
In a bid to reduce theft crimes involving mopeds, the police in the United Kingdom have said that they will knock suspects off their bikes. Reportedly, the Metropolitan cops informed media that there is a 36% reduction in theft crimes involving mopeds after this method was adopted last year.
This ‘tactical contact’ technique was followed since last year, which has now had a positive impact, reported The Guardian. The tactics were inclusive of marking spray to be fired at the suspects, remote controlled spikes to blow off the bike tyres and also official cars to knock down the violent rider suspects. Police had continued to be reluctant to chase mopeds driven by juveniles, amid the fears of serious injury.
What do the authorities have to say?
Jim Corbett, an Inspector, said that the drivers had a misconception that they would not be chased if they remove their helmets. However, we decided to knock him off the scooter citing the dangers to the public, as he drove on the pavement. We imprisoned him by tactical contacts.
‘Scorpion drivers’ is a special team that consists of trained men in tactical contact. Cops have also approached legal experts to curb the chances of officials being prosecuted for using such techniques. The official records show that 63 drivers were knocked off their mopeds or scooters irrespective of the drivers with or without a helmet since October 2017.
Sergent Tony McGovern, a scorpion driver, said, “It was the hardest tactic to be used”. He also added that it was just a slight controlled nudge at the moped or scooter, which led the drivers baffled if cops had decided to sprawl off the motorbikes. The police car will try to slow down the speeding bikes, and the scorpion riders will nudge the rider once the vehicle is at low speed. Most of them were shocked, as they weren’t aware of the new technique and continued to have the misconception that they won’t be chased if the helmet is removed.
“We aim to minimise injuries to the pursued and the civilians. Our drivers will remove their foot off the accelerator and use only brakes to nudge the suspect. It is a quick and dynamic process, where decision making can change in the split of a second”, McGovern told The Guardian.
Amanda Pearson, a Commander, said that their drivers are well trained and would act upon calculated risks before deciding to take up tactical contact in appropriate circumstances.
Lesser cases of violence
However, three incidents have been taken for investigation by the police watchdog. The Met records showed that 24% pursuits in their cases involved tactical contact and for the current year, it had risen to 40%. The matter of moped crime has sent a crime wave across the UK making the headlines as it added to public uneasiness about the prevailing violence.
Reportedly, the Met informed the media that 19,455 offences were registered within January to October last year and for the current year 12,419 offences for the same duration, which had marked the absolute fall in crimes involving mopeds.
Several factors had triggered the increase in moped crimes since 2017. One reason was the increase in scooter and moped ownership that were coupled with inadequate security measures, which were inefficient to stop from theft. Smartphones like iPhones followed by Samsung Galaxies are the other targets, as even juveniles can make around £200 for every mobile they steal.
Over a long period, the Met personnel believed moped thieves would drive at a particular speed before snatching any item from the victim. But, the increase in violence during the snatch let the police to frame tough tactics.
Written by : Abbinaya Kuzhanthaivel (Student, IIJNM)
Edited by : Sromona Bhattacharyya