Moped crimes ‘get­ting worse’

FOR­MER MET DETECTIVE SAYS GANGS HAVE THE BACK­ING OF OR­GAN­ISED CRIME

Uxbridge Gazette - - News - By CRAIG SIMP­SON craig.simp­son@reach­plc Twit­ter: @Craig_Simp­son_

A FOR­MER Met Po­lice detective who spent years tack­ling or­gan­ised crime fears the ris­ing prob­lem of moped gangs tar­get­ing peo­ple on the streets of Lon­don is go­ing to get worse.

David Vide­cette, a one-time anti-ter­ror­ism of­fi­cer, says the black mar­ket is driv­ing prof­its for “yobs” on mopeds who can get thou­sands of pounds a day af­ter pock­et­ing the prop­erty of in­no­cent Lon­don­ers.

The polic­ing and se­cu­rity ex­pert has warned that the alarm­ing rise in moped crimes will “get worse be­fore it gets bet­ter” and that the Met Po­lice could be years be­hind the prob­lem.

Lon­don has suf­fered a shock­ing rise in the use of these tac­tics, with some bor­oughs suf­fer­ing a stag­ger­ing 2,000% in­crease in in­ci­dents of thugs us­ing mopeds to com­mit crimes.

The num­ber of crimes is now 200 times higher in some ar­eas than it was three years ago, with al­most ev­ery bor­ough in the cap­i­tal see­ing large in­creases.

Com­pre­hen­sive new fig­ures ob­tained ex­clu­sively by a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest (FOI) show the alarm­ing spread of new crim­i­nal meth­ods across the cap­i­tal, pre­dom­i­nantly used by young men aged 16 to 20.

Al­most ev­ery kind of crime dealt with by the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Po­lice has at some point been com­mit­ted with the help of mopeds and mo­tor­bike.

Far from be­ing the work of thug­gish op­por­tunists, Mr Vide­cette, now a se­cu­rity ad­viser for high-pro­file VIPs, be­lieves each rob­bery and at­tack is the tip of a crim­i­nal ice­berg which reaches the murky depths of in­ter­na­tional crime groups.

Black mar­kets for stolen goods mean youths on bikes can make around £200 per mo­bile phone they steal, he said. Rack­ing up dou­ble fig­ures of hits per day, the money flow­ing into crim­i­nals’ hands can be a temp­ta­tion for those will­ing to ter­rorise the streets.

Mr Vide­cette be­lieves any­one can be­come a tar­get be­cause most of the time we are car­ry­ing some­thing of value to a would-be thug and moped rob­ber.

He said: “Peo­ple are be­ing mur­dered for watches. All sec­tions of so­ci­ety are be­ing tar­geted, celebri­ties and peo­ple on the street. It af­fects ev­ery­one be­cause we can all be­come targets.

“They are speed­ing down streets, rid­ing up and down try­ing to grab bags and phones. One hap­pened right in front of me. I saw a kid driv­ing up and down the road and he looked sus­pi­cious. I thought to my­self ‘they are go­ing to rob some­one.’

“Then they robbed some­body on the pave­ment, try­ing to take his Louis Vuit­ton bag right in front of me. They slashed his face with a blade edge of a ham­mer. There was blood ev­ery­where.

“I chased them and their mo­tor­bike, but be­ing in a civil­ian ve­hi­cle wasn’t the best. They zipped through the traf­fic and they were away.

“It was a per­fect ex­am­ple. Show­ing some­thing of value is a dan­ger, be­cause these crim­i­nals are so mo­ti­vated.”

Some ar­eas have seen enor­mous rises in moped crime, with twowheel ve­hi­cles of­ten stolen to be used again for crim­i­nal pur­poses. These thugs tar­get mul­ti­ple bor­oughs in one day, ac­cord­ing to Croy­don CID of­fi­cers.

Mr Vide­cette said: “This is a small groups of peo­ple – per­haps 200 to 300 are re­spon­si­ble for more than 20,000 crimes that we are see­ing.

“The Met, I love them, but they have been slow to re­spond.

“I would say they are two or three years be­hind the ac­tual prob­lem.

“Groups of young crim­i­nals are telling their friends ‘I know how to make loads of money, this is what you need to do.’ Things are go­ing to get worse be­fore they get bet­ter.

“I won’t be sur­prised if we go up to 40 or 50,000 crimes be­ing com­mit­ted like this.”

At pre­sent po­lice are ham­pered in pur­suit by laws which could see of­fi­cers on the street pros­e­cuted for dan­ger­ous driv­ing while chas­ing a sus­pect, or face a thor­ough watch­dog in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

It has been said that of­fi­cers are re­luc­tant to ini­ti­ate a pur­suit given the risk to their own ca­reers.

New tac­tics such as spikes and DNA sprays are be­ing utilised, but Mr Vide­cette firmly be­lieves a change in the law must now take place.

De­tec­tives have re­leased CCTV footage of a ‘moped gang’ steal­ing hand­bags from a de­signer shop in west Lon­don

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