Met Police allowed to knock moped thieves off bikes at high speed
Police officers will use their vehicles to knock moped thieves off their bikes – even during high-speed pursuits, Scotland Yard has said.
Commander Amanda Pearson, of the Met's front-line policing unit, said a hard-line approach using "tactical contact" is needed to stop dangerous chases and arrest suspects.
In a briefing at Scotland Yard on Friday, police chiefs warned there is no maximum speed for police cars to hit mopeds, and that it is a common misconception among moped thieves that officers will end their pursuit if the suspect drives dangerously or removes their helmet.
"A lot of them get up and run away, looking aghast at how dare we," Ms Pearson said.
The suspects, some as young as 14 and others driving at up to 100mph, are "riding dangerously before there is any sort of police vehicle involved", she said.
"The public quite rightly expects us to intervene to keep London safe. Our highly trained police drivers weigh up the risks and decide upon the most appropriate tactics in those circumstances.
"Offenders on mopeds and motorcycles who attempt to evade the police are making a choice that puts themselves and others at risk.
"So our message is clear: We can, we will and we do target those involved in moped and motorcycle crime at every opportunity."
Operation Venice, which tackles moped-related crime, also uses DNA forensic tagging which sees suspects and their vehicles marked with a spray which can be spotted by UV lights up to one month after the crime was committed, directly linking the perpetrator to the crime.
So far, 28 suspects have been arrested using the spray.
Sergeant Tony McGovern, one of the police drivers on the specialised Scorpion team, said attempts are made to reduce the speed of the chase first, but added: "It's incredibly quick and very dynamic. Your decision-making changes in a split second."
The tactics have helped reduce moped crime in London by 44%, according to the Met Police figures.
From January 2018 to October, there were 7,036 fewer offences than during the same period in 2017.