The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) continues to challenge the accuracy of police motorcycle theft statistics. The third National Police Force Bike Theft Rankings document, published today, covers thefts in 2020. Generally lower crime rates during the pandemic are reflected in the motorcycle theft data. Motorcycle theft fell by 30% compared to 2019. Certainty in the reported theft figures supplied by many forces remains low.
MAG collates data from Freedom of Information requests placed with all police forces in the UK. The results clearly show that London remains the undisputed hot spot for motorcycle theft. London’s theft rate is double that of the next worst area for which data is available.
The document reveals some surprises. Gwent Police have reported the second worst theft rate in the country, and Northumbria Police report a 95% reduction in thefts. Northumbria becomes the best ranked force in the UK after languishing in 30th position in 2019.
MAG has previously revealed errors in some forces’ records, and the 2020 data sets have reinforced the need to use caution when trying to draw conclusions from the data.
Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, said:
“It is a source of great frustration that data for the most basic of questions is unreliable. Accurate reporting is vital to understand any type of crime. The number of reported thefts should be a figure that is easy for any force to report accurately. Yet we see forces issuing figures and then claiming they are wrong, as well as a handful of forces that simply refuse to provide any data whatsoever. We started this process to help everyone understand the issue more fully. Our plan was to provide more detailed information as the process developed. Sadly, we are still unable to do the most basic level of analysis comprehensively.”
MAG is engaging with police forces and Police & Crime Commissioners wherever it can. It is also lobbying for a meeting with the Policing Minister, Kit Malthouse, to get the issue of accuracy in reporting put under the microscope.
“We will persist. Tackling motorcycle theft is a priority close to the heart of all riders. The response to it could be vastly improved with clear and accurate intelligence.”
The full reported facts for 2020 can be found in the National Police Force Bike Theft Ranking document at: https://bit.ly/TheftRank2020