New legislation to target keyless vehicle theft devices
The UK is grappling with a surge in vehicle thefts, many of which involve the use of keyless technology.
Police and Government officials are actively considering changes to legislation that would stop the sale of devices used in the theft of keyless vehicles, targeting not only the sale and possession of these devices but also the disposal routes of stolen vehicles, including ports and ‘chop shops’.
Organised crime groups are suspected to be responsible for a significant proportion of vehicle thefts in the UK.
Devices like keyless repeaters and signal jammers are believed to be involved in the majority of vehicle thefts in the UK in recent years.
Many of these devices have no legitimate purpose, and as such, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), in partnership with the Home Office, is examining how their sale and possession could be made criminal offences.
This initiative is part of a broader effort to tackle vehicle theft by removing access to keyless repeaters, jammers, and similar devices, which is predicted to have a significant impact.
Superintendent Matthew Moscrop, part of the NPCC team working to target vehicle theft, said, “The widespread use of keyless technology has unfortunately led to the development of devices which are easily accessible and make stealing vehicles all too straightforward for criminals. We’re working with the Home Office and Government to establish how we could put a stop to the sale of these devices, which would certainly make life much more difficult for thieves, reducing the tactics available to them.”
In addition to these efforts, Police and Government are also working with online retailers and marketplace platforms to either prohibit the sale of the devices or to remove listings when they go live. This is another route to taking the tools away from the criminals responsible for vehicle theft.
Work is also ongoing with manufacturers on theft prevention and developing technology to prevent these devices from being effective.
Intelligence suggests a large proportion of vehicle theft can be attributed to organised crime groups.
There have been several successful operations around the country, which have led to the discovery of not only stolen vehicles but also ammunition and drugs.
Superintendent Moscrop emphasised that “tackling vehicle crime needs approaching from several different angles and we can only achieve this through working closely with our partners in both Government and industry.”
Moreover, vehicle owners can take a few simple steps to protect their vehicles from theft:
- Store keys in a Faraday box or pouch.
- Ensure your vehicle is secured when you leave it. Check and double-check it is locked.
- A steering lock is very effective at preventing thieves from stealing your vehicle.
- When parking away from home, use a ParkMark secured car park.
- Keep an eye out for any suspicious activity in your local area.
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