Merseyside Police is increasingly concerned that off road bikes seem to be the transport of choice for criminals. In the last 12 months these bikes have been involved in gun crime, serious and organised criminality, fatal road traffic collisions and anti social behavior. Lawful off road bike owners are also falling victim to theft of these machines.
It has become increasingly apparent that unlawful riders of these bikes have a complete disregard for other decent, law-abiding members in their communities and don’t concern themselves with the potential and often fatal consequences. In the last eight weeks alone, two families have lost their loved ones following road traffic collisions involving stolen off road bikes illegally ridden on our streets.
Merseyside Police Vehicle Crime Group has also noticed an increasing number of people from various counties having their bikes stolen after being advertised for sale. One common method sees offenders call to ask to see bikes and once they have an address simply break in and steal the vehicle soon after.
There are a number of reasons these machines seem to be so popular amongst thieves and organised crime groups. The main reason is accountability. Unlike road bikes and cars these machines do not have to be registered and therefore they are not connected to an individual. In addition, if the bike is stolen and the police recover it, the chances of reuniting it with the owner is significantly less than road bikes or cars, because they are not registered to the owner.
To combat this Merseyside Police has devised a scheme to get bikes out of the hands of criminals and back to the lawful owners. This is the first scheme of its kind in the country and sees Merseyside Police join forces with the DVLA off road register and Datatag.
Sgt Martin Mayne from Merseyside Police – Vehicle Crime Group explains the scheme and what owners can do to protect themselves.
“Merseyside Police and the wider community have had enough of the unlawful use of these bikes. The scheme is very simple, every off road bike which comes into the possession of Merseyside Police does not leave until it is fitted with a unique Datatag system and registered on the DVLA off road register, or destroyed”.
“We are determined to do everything we can to get these bikes back to their rightful owners and out of the hands of criminals.”
Monday, 15 October 2012, sees the launch of a webpage with pictures of some of the bikes the Merseyside Police has and is searching for an owner.
Your members are encouraged to look at the site http://www.merseyside.police.uk/protecting-you/scrambler-bikes.aspx and
e-mail Vehicle.Crime.Group@Merseyside.police.uk quoting the reference number if people think the bike belongs to them. Give as much information regarding why you think the bike is yours. Examples include – identifying features/marks, which are not on the pictures, specialist modifications not on the picture, identity features or photographs you may have of your stolen machine. One of our specialist vehicle examiners will look into the information you provide and contact you if necessary.
Since starting the scheme in the last six weeks, victims of theft have been delighted that their machines have been found and also security marked with a Datatag system and registered to reduce the chance of their machine being stolen again.
There has been a reduction in the number of people asking for the return of the bikes we have recovered. It seems some people are not keen to have the machines linked to them suggesting they were destined to be used in crime.
We would encourage lawful off road bike owners to register their machines on the DVLA off road register. The full details can be found on www.direct.gov.uk website ‘Protect your off road vehicle’ (INF85). You will receive a logbook with a ‘Q’ prefix registration number. You do not have to display the plate, pay tax or have an MOT. Ordinarily you will have to take the machine to a DVLA local office for a vehicle examiner to look. As part of this scheme Merseyside Police vehicle examiners can register these bikes on behalf of the DVLA. Subject to demand the Vehicle Crime Group will arrange ‘register it days’ to protect law abiding off road bike enthusiasts.
All enquires will be coordinated through the email address firstname.lastname@example.org