Car crime rising due to specialist officer cuts, claims security consortium
31 May 2016
Author: Daniel Puddicombe
Car crime is on the rise thanks to a reduction in the number specialist officers, a consortium of security professionals has claimed.
According to official figures, 81,000 vehicles were stolen last year, an 8% increase on 2014's total, while the number of attempted break-ins soared by a third.
Cuts to the police's Stolen Vehicle Units will only "widen the gaps in police knowledge and skills," said Justin Powell, president of International Association of Auto Theft Investigators.
Although Powell didn't indicate exactly how many units have been cut across the country, he cited anecdotal evidence claiming that the metropolitan police has reduced its team by around 20 members - from 30 to less than 10 - since the 1990s in order to save money.
"Whether we are talking about the targeting of modern classics, such as Ford Escorts and Land Rover Defenders, or tech-savvy criminals using electronic compromise to steal cars worth hundreds of thousands of pounds each, it usually involves organised criminal gangs," he said. "Vehicle crime, as well as being a problem in itself, is also a key enabler of other serious crimes, including terrorism. It is therefore imperative to keep up the pressure on these networks," he added.