Metropolitan Police Under Pressure to Do More to Tackle Theft From Cars

By Chris Summers
Chris Summers
Chris Summers
Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist covering a wide range of national stories, with a particular interest in crime, policing and the law.
July 11, 2022 Updated: July 11, 2022

The new commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Mark Rowley, is coming under pressure to do more to combat low-level crimes like theft from cars.

The Telegraph published analysis of the latest Home Office data which suggested the Metropolitan Police solved just 271 out of 55,000 thefts from vehicles in London in 2021.

That rate—0.5 percent—was lower than all but three of the 43 police forces in England and Wales.

Rick Muir, head of the Police Foundation think tank, told The Telegraph it amounted to “effective decriminalisation” of theft from cars by the Met and he added: “Victims of these kinds of these crimes would not expect to get the same level of priority as more serious offences. But, at the same time, there are certain things the public expect of police, one of which is that they will at least investigate these bread-and-butter crimes.”

“Policing is going to have to look at these levels and decide if it has got it right. Where the charge rates are at that level, there is no deterrence to commit these kinds of offences and it might encourage people to commit them in future,” added Muir.

Thieves Look for Unfolded Mirrors on New Cars

Keith Floyd, who specialises in policing at Huddersfield University, said: “What we found in our research was that theft from unattended vehicles was on the rise. For thieves, there is a simple sign. When you lock most modern cars, the mirrors fold into the car. Car thieves will stop and check any vehicle where the mirrors are open.”

The Met’s new commissioner has a herculean task ahead of him, after the Met was put into “special measures” by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services because of its performance in a number of areas.

Rowley, who is replacing Dame Cressida Dick, who resigned in February, has promised a major expansion of neighbourhood policing and on Friday he said: “We will deliver more trust, less crime, and high standards for London and beyond and we will work with London’s diverse communities as we together renew the uniquely British invention of ‘policing by consent.’”

A Metropolitan Police spokesman told The Telegraph: “Any allegation of crime reported to the police will be assessed to see if there are any viable lines of enquiry, including forensic opportunities that can be progressed.”

Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist covering a wide range of national stories, with a particular interest in crime, policing and the law.