Police chiefs and Government considering law changes to crack down on keyless vehicle thefts
Work ongoing to determine how legislation could stop sale of devices used in theft of keyless vehicles
Disposal routes including ports and 'chop shops' targeted by police
Serious organised crime groups suspected to be responsible for significant proportion of vehicle thefts
Policing is working with Government to look at ways legislation can stop the sale of devices like keyless repeaters and signal jammers which are believed to be involved in the majority of vehicle thefts in the UK in recent years.
Many of these devices have no legitimate purpose and as such, the National Police Chiefs’ Council, in partnership with the Home Office, is examining how their sale and possession could be made criminal offences.
Police and Government also work with online retailers and marketplace platforms to either prohibit the sale of the devices or to remove listings when they go live, another route to taking the tools away from the criminals responsible for vehicle theft. In addition, work is ongoing with manufacturers on theft prevention and developing technology to prevent these devices being effective.
Removing access to keyless repeaters, jammers and similar devices is just one element of tackling vehicle theft but one which is predicted could have a significant impact.
Superintendent Matthew Moscrop is part of the National Police Chiefs’ Council team working to target vehicle theft. He said:
“The widespread use of keyless technology has unfortunately led to the development of devices which are easily accessible and make stealing vehicles all too straightforward for criminals.
“We’re working with the Home Office and Government to establish how we could put a stop to the sale of these devices which would certainly make life much more difficult for thieves, reducing the tactics available to them. We also regularly engage with vehicle manufacturers on theft prevention and security features to protect vehicles.
“Disposal routes for stolen vehicles are also a key focus and we work closely with the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NAVCIS) to target ports which we know are a key route for moving stolen vehicles, as well as with police forces and colleagues in the NPCC metal theft portfolio to tackle so-called ‘chop shops’.
“Intelligence suggests a large proportion of vehicle theft can be attributed to organised crime groups and there have been a number of successful operations around the country which have led to the discovery of not only stolen vehicles but also ammunition and drugs.
“Tackling vehicle crime needs approaching from several different angles and we can only achieve this through working closely with our partners in both Government and industry.”
Successful policing operations across the country have resulted in the recovery of stolen cars but also ammunition and drugs too. Examples include: