Solihull News - - FRONT PAGE - NICK McCARTHY nick. mccarthy@ trin­i­tymir­ror. com

OR­GAN­ISED crim­i­nals are tar­get­ing lux­ury cars parked at rail­way sta­tions across the West Mid­lands.

Crooks have been tar­get­ing flaws in the se­cu­rity sys­tems of high- value ve­hi­cles that are parked at sta­tions across the re­gion, it’s un­der­stood.

The prob­lem is so se­ri­ous that the West Mid­lands Po­lice and Crime Com­mis­sioner has raised the is­sue with spe­cific car man­u­fac­tur­ers, ac­cus­ing them of FAIL­ING to pro­tect cus­tomers.

The is­sue was raised at a Strate­gic Po­lice and Crime Board on Tues­day where it was also re­vealed that rail­way crime has rock­eted by 39 per cent.

Po­lice ad­mit­ted that ve­hi­cle crime was up by a stag­ger­ing 145 per cent, anti- so­cial be­hav­iour was up 47 per cent and vio-


lence was up 64 per cent.

The num­bers helped push to­tal rail­way crime up in 2017/ 18 by 39 per cent and con­trib­uted to an 18 per cent rise in to­tal pub­lic transport crime.

David Jamieson said: “The rise in ve­hi­cle thefts is con­cern­ing, it shows that crime is ris­ing not fall­ing as the gov­ern­ment in­sists.

“I have been rais­ing this is­sue with West Mid­lands Po­lice to en­sure a more ro­bust re­sponse and I raised it with the Polic­ing Min­is­ter last week too. In ad­di­tion to re­cruit­ing of­fi­cers to tackle crimes, I have called on lead­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers to bring in mea­sures to pro­tect their ve­hi­cles from theft.

“As well as tough po­lice ac­tion, it is im­por­tant man­u­fac­tur­ers take re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure their ve­hi­cles are much more dif­fi­cult to steal.

“Man­u­fac­tur­ers are fail­ing in their du­ties to pro­tect their cus­tomers. The man­u­fac­tur­ers should face up to their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and en­sure the ex­pen­sive ve­hi­cles they sell are not as vul­ner­a­ble to hack­ing and theft.”

Po­lice con­firmed dur­ing Tues­day’s meet­ing they have re­sponded to the surge in crime by in­creas­ing pa­trols and work­ing in part­ner­ship with Bri­tish Transport Po­lice ( BTP).

They also said ac­tion is on­go­ing against six peo­ple to se­cure transport ban­ning or­ders.

A re­port to the Board, from As­sis­tant Chief Con­sta­ble Mar­cus Beale, said: “The fig­ures show a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in rail crime which is largely ve­hi­cle crime and in the main is at­trib­uted to a crime group who are be­lieved to be ac­tively tar­get­ing rail car parks.

“Al­though this is BTP crime num­bers, there is ev­i­dence of linked ve­hi­cle crime in the vicin­ity af­fect­ing West Mid­lands crime fig­ures. In re­sponse to this, Safer Travel sup­port BTP in joint pa­trols, en­sur­ing they are co­or­di­nated,

I have called on lead­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers to bring in mea­sures to pro­tect their ve­hi­cles from theft.

ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient at vul­ner­a­ble lo­ca­tions.

Wider sup­port has come from the Cen­tral Mo­tor­way Po­lice Group ( CMPG) who have as­sisted in gath­er­ing in­tel­li­gence which has re­cently led to the ar­rest of a key nom­i­nal.

“Safer Travel cur­rently have six in­di­vid­u­als with in­ves­ti­ga­tions on­go­ing for rail- re­lated crime, and they are work­ing with the le­gal depart­ment to bring about transport ban­ning or­ders.”

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