Police get ready to use ‘stingers' against moped gangs

Camden is worst affected borough in London for mobile phone snatches

Thursday, 2nd November 2017 — By William McLennan

police stingers

The remote-controlled equipment

POLICE have said that moped crime has decreased by nearly a quarter in the past three months as they introduce new tactics, including remote-controlled “stingers” and light-weight motorbikes.

Camden remains the worst-affected borough in London for mobile phone snatches, but figures are dropping from their height in June and July, when there were an average of 25 thefts a day.

In September, 556 offences were carried out by suspects riding scooters.

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “I have been clear that tackling violence is my priority. I was angered by the apparent perception among some criminals that they could operate with near impunity, committing strings of offences using scooters.”

She added: “We have brought all our tactics and specialists together to use every ethical option to put a stop to the rise; arrest those responsible; disrupt offenders; dismantle the criminal markets that make these offences lucrative; and change the public’s behaviour to make them a part of our effort.”

Police have held a number of public meetings with residents in recent weeks as concern grew about the crimewave. Among new tactics being deployed are “stingers” – a concertina of spikes controlled remotely by officers that can be laid across roads with the intention of piercing tyres.

Police have also been equipped with a forensic tagging spray, which marks the clothing and skin of a suspect with a unique code that can later be detected to link them to a crime.

The Met has also purchased lightweight BMW motorbikes, giving officers greater manoeuvrability in pursuits.

Commissioner Dick linked phone thieves to other crime and said: “We know that our criminal cohort committing crime on scooters also carry knives, have links to networks who handle stolen property and who deal drugs. So if you are a persistent phone thief – using a scooter to commit your crimes – and we can prove your involvement in other offences, such as drug dealing, you will be arrested.”

She added: “This is where the public can help us. I want to mobilise communities, to channel their outrage as part of a joint effort to make our streets safer. Look after your belongings, follow our security advice and tell us about the people who are responsible for crime in your communities and help us tackle them.”

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