IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Moped crime: Call for pillion passenger ban

Surge in thefts sparks appeal for temporary measure

24 November, 2017 — By William McLennan

Stolen mopeds retrieved by police in Camden and Islington

POLICE chiefs have been asked to consider banning mopeds from carrying passengers as the search continues for effective ways to tackle the surge in phone snatches.

Green London Assembly member Sian Berry asked Met assistant commissioner Martin Hewitt to look at the proposals at a City Hall meeting. Outlining the idea, Ms Berry said that a resident had “pointed out a tactic used in some other countries: to temporarily ban the carrying of pillion passengers across whole cities”.

Her call was echoed by a member of the public at a meeting called by Whitehall Park Residents’ Association at St Andrew’s Church, in Archway, on Wednesday. Around 50 people discussed the rising tide of moped-related crime in the area. Chairwoman Dorothy Leng said the suggestion of banning passengers would raise concerns about “civil liberties”. Islington is the second- worst-hit borough for moped crime, with more than 3,500 incidents reported between January and September this year.

Ms Berry said of the pillion passenger ban: “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. “I know police are considering a range of new tactics and think we should be listening to everyone’s ideas.”

Concerns have been raised about increasingly violent attacks that have seen hammer-wielding moped robbers target customers in cafés, including the Bread and Bean café, in Archway, and Rustique café, in Tufnell Park. Mr Hewitt said new police tactics include the deployment of lightweight motorbikes and remote-controlled stingers, which can deflate a vehicle’s tyres. Police are also working with the motor industry to explore ways of making mopeds harder to steal.

Café laptop snatch charge

A teenager has been charged with theft after a laptop was taken from Bread and Bean café in Archway. The 17-year-old, who was arrested in Islington on Friday, has been charged with theft and three counts of robbery relating to offences on October 17. He was also charged with possession of a class B drug and dangerous driving. On the same day, a 14-year-old boy was arrested for moped-enabled offences. He and the 17-year-old were charged with six counts of robbery, two counts of attempted robbery, conspiracy to steal and conspiracy to commit robbery, for offences committed on August 25.

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