TOAD TALKS: Motorcycle theft not on the agenda, but mobile phone theft is…

As the London Mayor and the Met Police want to clamp down on mobile phone theft, Toad wonders why the same can’t be done for motorcycle theft?


AS I thumbed the morning news this morning (digitally, of course), I saw that the Mayor of London and the Met Police Commissioner are pouring pressure on mobile phone manufacturers in order to try and make mobile phones less attractive to thieves.

My immediate reaction was one of disappointment, and then irritation. If the Mayor of London is able to take time out from extending London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone so that it reaches Milton Keynes (don’t rule it out!), why can’t he do the same for motorcycle theft?

Look, I do get it. Mobile phone theft is a massive ballache, you have lots of things to sort, lock down your social media, freeze your online banking and order new cards, and then pray that all your phone numbers and photos of your family (bikes) are backed up to this mystical cloud. Overall, though, as long as you are insured, you could be back online and sending memes to your mates again in as little as a week. And while I’m on the subject of being insured, phone insurance isn’t that pricey, the excess you pay to make a claim is generally fairly manageable.

I’ve also never heard of someone losing their job after having their phone pinched, although to many people who work in the UK’s gig economy, that is the reality of having a motorcycle stolen. The knock-on effects of this are easy to predict, things like being unable to pay bills, buy food and pay rent - and that can be a slippery slope for some.

Last year in London the BBC reported that just over 90,000 mobiles were pinched in the capital and while that is a staggering number, it’s 90,000 cases of frustration and irritation, and in many of those cases the situation would have been rectified in not much time at all. Of the over 9,000 motorcycles that were stolen in London last year, the same cannot be said.

And there is another point that seems to have been missed by Mr Khan and the Met Police Commissioner, and that is that motorcycle crime and other street-level crimes go hand in hand. People don’t use mobile phones to facilitate motorcycle theft, but it does work the other way around. Stolen scooters are still used in snatch-and-grab thefts across London and further afield in the UK. Surely if you tackle motorcycle theft the number of motorcycle-enabled phone robberies would also drop?

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