The Metropolitan Police’s latest controversial tactic in tackling moped crime by ramming crooks off their wheels, has resulted in two broken bones, according to the Met Police chief.
Footage released by the police in November, of their novel approach to dealing with bike crims – who attack people on the street using vehicles – has now been criticised by MPs.
Former officers and members of the police community however have praised the method.
Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, said pursuit drivers are ‘supremely well trained’ and the ramming method has resulted in only a ‘very small’ number of injuries, the Mirror reports.
She told Channel 5 on Friday:
At least one person broke their arm and another had some sort of break. My officers make life-and-death decisions every day of the week, they’re very accountable.
They make the best possible decisions. We are in a risky business.
The release of the footage came after the head of the Met’s Operation Venice Team said moped and motorbike criminals will be targeted ‘at every opportunity’, even if they’re riding dangerously – for example without a helmet.
It’s hoped the footage will make criminals think twice about their actions in the future, because it’s so extreme.
Ms Dick added:
We’ve had to put the fear back into the criminal. These are people who have been repeatedly left in no doubt whatsoever that there’s a police car right behind them.
If you look over your shoulder and drive on as fast as possible, putting the public in danger, you should expect we will come after you.
David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, said ‘an attempt to put out fire with fire’ risks turning streets ‘into armed battlegrounds’.
Dick said there was a ‘huge misunderstanding’ around the proposal:
I have no intention of causing armed officers to be routinely walking around the suburbs, except when it might be really necessary.
Rest assured I’m not going to ask firearm officers to do more unless there’s a reason to do it. Huge misunderstanding.
Incidents of moped crime have been rising over recent years. 2016 saw a 1,150 per cent increase, with 372 incidences in 2011, soaring to 4,637 to 2016. Sadly, the true figure is likely to be far higher, as many victims don’t bother to report the crime out of embarrassment.
Since 2015, the London Borough of Islington has seen a particularly stratospheric increase in these crimes, causing the London Evening Standard to investigate.
Reporters rode along with local police who are trying to raise the public’s awareness of moped muggings.
DCI Steve Heatley of Islington MPS explained:
They actually rehearse this. It’s sort of like a magic trick. They are very, very good at it.
If you’re walking down the road on a phone, unaware of what’s around you…the phone could be gone within ten seconds.
The debate on this approach continues.
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Tim Horner is a sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated with a BA Journalism from University College Falmouth before most his colleagues were born. A previous editor of adult mags, he now enjoys bringing the tone down in the viral news sector.