Moped crimes ‘getting worse’
FORMER MET DETECTIVE SAYS GANGS HAVE THE BACKING OF ORGANISED CRIME
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