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Motorcycle and Moped-enabled Crime

Volume 629: debated on Monday 16 October 2017

We recently brought together motorcycle insurance industry leaders, law enforcement partners, the Local Government Association, charities and representatives from the motorcycle-riding community to have a full and open discussion about the issue. All parties agreed to work together to devise a comprehensive action plan to tackle this type of crime. As a first step, we have announced a review of the law, guidance and practice surrounding police pursuits and response driving.

Order. I wanted to respond favourably partly for the benefit of the Home Secretary and her illustrious office and partly because the temptation to hear the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill) is overwhelming.

Of 20,000 moped-related crimes in London last year, 752 happened in Southwark, but only 17 people were charged with an offence. Instead of tackling the rising problem, the Government have announced a review. What are the terms of this pathetic response to this blight on my constituents’ lives? When will it be completed? What specific additional resources and powers will it give our overstretched and underfunded police?

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that we do not have operational control over what goes on in his constituency; what we do have is the ability to pull people together to get the right answers. This sort of evolving crime needs to be dealt with by bringing people together to find out the best way to address it. We need to be guided by the police and local authorities. I urge him to engage with that consultation so that we get the right answers for his constituents.

In the course of the Home Secretary’s welcome review, will she undertake to get the message out that pretty cynical and street-hardened young people, such as some in my constituency, are taking off their helmets when the police appear on the scene because they believe that the police will not chase them under the current guidelines? The guidelines are utterly out of touch with reality and frustrate police officers who are trying to do their job. Will the review look at that specific issue?

I thank my hon. Friend for raising that point in his particularly distinct way. He is absolutely right—he has put his finger on it—that the police do have a concern and we are having the review to address that concern. I hope that I will be able to come back to him with some progress soon.

Over the past six months, 35 motor vehicle thefts and a rise in moped-related crime have been reported in Penge. Yesterday, it was reported that an acid attack occurred in broad daylight. Many of my constituents are becoming increasingly concerned. What exactly is the Department doing to combat such crimes?

I share the hon. Lady’s concerns. We take this matter seriously and we must address it, particularly because such crimes tend to evolve and can hold a fashionable attraction for different communities. That is why we are having this review. That is why we are bringing together the different parties, and I urge her to engage with the process.