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Putting Victims and Communities first: motorbike theft

Putting victims and communities in Dorset first is a priority in my Police and Crime Plan. Before I became Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) I spent three years as a candidate listening to what Dorset residents had to say and learning what was most important to them. Since becoming PCC this is something that I have continued to do and will do for as long as I have the honour of serving Dorset as PCC, whether through public consultations, live Q&As on social media or attending public events and meetings.

One issue that I have noticed is being brought up more and more often by the residents I speak to and those who engage with the OPCC online, is motorbike theft, particularly the theft of small bikes. One repeat victim’s experience has been that when such motorbikes are stolen, they aren’t taken to be sold on. Instead, they are stolen in mindless acts of reckless criminal activity. They said that the bikes go on to be ‘hotwired’ and ridden around, usually with no helmet, in a manner that is not only a danger to the rider but to members of the public as well. 

Residents tell me that the bikes are ridden until they break and are then abandoned on paths, in parks and sometimes in a final act of criminality, set on fire. What is happening is more than anti-social behaviour, it is theft, criminal damage, reckless endangerment and arson.

PCC David Sidwick, Luke Hendy and MP Sir Robert Syms with damaged moped

PCC David Sidwick, Luke Hendy and MP Sir Robert Syms with damaged moped 

Last week I had the pleasure of joining a local MP in meeting Luke Hendy of Poole Moto. Luke told me that he has witnessed first-hand the shocking state that these bikes are being found in and has witnessed families and individuals scrambling to get back on two wheels. He told me that from his experience, for many people owning a bike is a cheap way to get to work, for some youngsters it's their first mode of transport and for some, it’s a means to earning a living by delivering food and goods.

Luke said: “The emotional strain is immense. I have several already vulnerable customers that have had their sole mode of transport stolen. Some have lost their jobs after being unable to afford to fix their recovered bike or buy a replacement.”

Education and prevention are key components when it comes to tackling any crime. I hope to raise awareness of the issue of motorbike theft and share some simple steps that can be taken to increase security. There are a couple of different ways that a motorbike can be made more secure. If you are unable to store your bike in a locked garage or shed, then a solo chain that is locked to a secure point can be a good way to deter would-be thieves. If you want to go a step further, a dual chain and alarmed disc lock can provide a comprehensive amount of security by combining a physical deterrent and an alarm.

I hope this newsletter makes it clear that motorbike theft is not a low priority and I understand the detrimental impacts this crime can have, not only the owner who has lost more than just a bike, but also on the community who deal with the associated reckless driving and criminal damage. I will be talking with the chief constable and exploring what more can be done in prevention. It is only by working with partner agencies, local businesses, and residents that we can tackle this issue.

Find out more about how to protect your motorcycle, moped or scooter from theft on Dorset Police’s website.

David Sidwick

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner

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