Deep in the heart of London police are combating a growing rise in the number of young thieves who have resorted to using mopeds in crowded urban areas to orchestrate quick and opportunistic robberies. Targeting handheld electronic devices, such as cameras and phones, thieves have been known to mount pavements and weave in between groups of people and even tables, snatching devices out of the hands of victims before quickly speeding away.
It is estimated that in one case a scooter gang managed to perform up to 30 robberies in just a single hour between 12pm and 1pm in West London. Officials have claimed that because the majority of the crimes are performed in busy urban areas in broad daylight pursuit of the thieves becomes difficult due to the potential danger it poses to members of the public. However despite the deployment of covert officers police officials believe there is a need for tougher tactics in order to counter the feeling of impunity that scooter gangs feel due to the police’s reluctance to pursue them.
In trying to understand the surge in moped related crime police believe it may be linked to a change in criminal networks and technology. Specifically in the handling of mobile phone parts and stolen handsets.
In fact the growing importance of digital technology in our lives and the impact it has had in the nature of crime has led to the creation and launch of the “Online Hate Crime Hub”. Working with community experts this police unit will be focused on policing online hate crime in London and will work in combination with social media companies to develop appropriate sanctions for perpetrators of online hate.
Other new police initiatives include a £3m investment into combating the use of drone technology. Specifically as it relates to the smuggling of contraband to prison inmates. While noting that this is an issue John Podmore, former head of the service’s anti-corruption unit, has downplayed the importance of drones and has claimed the initiative is a PR smokescreen to distract from the real issue of staff corruption in prisons.