FORCE FOCUS: Vehicle theft doubles in two years - The Solihull Observer

FORCE FOCUS: Vehicle theft doubles in two years

Solihull Editorial 5th May, 2018   0


The number of vehicles stolen in the last two years has doubled in the West Midlands to almost 10,000. It’s a national problem, but felt very acutely here. To use police speak, ‘electronic compromise’ is an increasing threat.

The police graphs tell their own story. A worrying trend. Cars up and down the country seem increasingly vulnerable to theft. I’ve been growing more and more concerned about the situation. As well as the trauma a car theft causes for an individual, the recent trend is also stretching our already squeezed police force here in the West Midlands.

Despite losing 2100 officers since 2010 thanks to central government cuts the force is now having to divert scores of officers to investigate car crimes.

Now, on behalf of motorists right across the West Midlands, I’m taking up the fight. As well as getting the police to focus on a small minority of serious criminals, I am also cranking up the pressure on manufacturers.

So how are cars being stolen?

Sadly, the answer seems to lie with the technology which was designed to increase driver convenience. As vehicles have become smarter they have acquired all sorts of fancy features, like keyless entry.

Whilst it makes it easier for you and me to access our cars, sadly the same can be said for criminals. That’s why I have met with BMW, Audi, Ford, Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover and Honda and demanded they do more to keep our cars safe.

It is high time the manufacturers take action. The cars they sell cost tens of thousands of pounds and people have the right to expect that they will still be on the driveway when they wake up in the morning. The manufacturer’s response was at best lukewarm.

There is no shortage of help for these crooks either. Anyone can legally buy devices from Amazon and EBay and clone a new key for your car in 60 seconds. That’s why I have written to the two giant online retailers calling on them to act responsibly and remove the items from their sites.

So far Ebay have said they will, but haven’t. Amazon have been arrogant enough to simply ignore my request. It isn’t good enough.

That’s why, from next week, I will increase the pressure on manufacturers. I will name and shame them. I will publish a list of vehicles being stolen in the West Midlands every three months. This will continue until the car companies take the matter seriously and get the number of thefts back down to the levels we witnessed in 2015.

I promise you one thing. I won’t let up on this issue.

David Jamieson, PCC


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