Temporary ban on pillions suggested to tackle London scooter gangs

Tactic used in some countries is to ‘temporarily ban the carrying of pillion passengers across whole cities,’ says London Assembly Green member.

Temporary ban on pillions suggested to tackle London scooter gangs

A TEMPORARY ban on pillion passengers has been suggested as a way of reducing so-called moped crime in London.

London Assembly Green member Sian Berry said police should consider the measure in robbery hotspots, the Evening Standard reports.

Ms Berry suggested a ban on pillion passengers of "mopeds", the term commonly used by the press when referring to scooter-enabled crime, although often the vehicles used are over 50cc and not distinct from motorcycles under law. It’s not clear how any ban would not also affect motorcycle pillions in practice.

Ms Berry, deputy chairwoman of the assembly’s Police and Crime Committee, said she had raised the idea with senior Met officers.

She said: “A very small number of people are causing large amounts of fear on our streets. I live in a huge hotspot in Camden and resident concern and debate on how to deal with this is running very high.

“A local safer neighbourhood panel chair pointed out a tactic used in some other countries: to temporarily ban the carrying of pillion passengers across whole cities.

Sian Berry

“I’d like to know what people think as I’m really not sure this is right for London. But it’s possible that temporary bans on moped passengers in particular areas would help to identify and better target police action, as anyone defying a ban would know they might be spoken to.”

Asked how any ban would not also affect motorcycle pillions, Ms Berry told Visordown: "I think that’s a really good point. I asked in the PCC whether the police might look into options and possible legal issues like that. Like I said in the Standard I’m not sure it could work."

The suggestion won the support of Adie Kitachi, a motorcycle security consultant for the Motorcycle Action Group. He said: “It’s a good idea. I pillion my partner sometimes but it is not that popular, so I don’t think too many people would be aggrieved.

“What you do get are criminals using high-powered mopeds with a pillion passenger tooled up with weapons.”

Speaking to Visordown, Mr Kitachi said any ban would also affect motorcycle pillions, adding: "My take on it is, it's a very, very small sacrifice when you consider the amount of pillions in London riding regularly is very fractional compared to the amount of motorcyclists on the road. It's a tiny percentage.

"It's a very, very small sacrifice to address a very, very massive, dangerous, growing problem."

Mr Kitachi said it was his own opinion and not necessarily the view of the Motorcycle Action Group.

Commander Julian Bennett of the Met's Territorial Policing said: “We would consider any suggestion or proposals from anyone that might make this type of offence even more difficult to commit. However, any initiative adopted must be proportionate, practical and within current law.”

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