Met police say ‘safety policy’ forces officers to abandon 1 in 3 motorbike chases

Source: evening standard

More than 100 police pursuits of motorbike riders were abandoned by the Met last year because they posed a “disproportionate risk” to the public or the suspect, figures show.

Crimes involving mopeds have soared by more than 600 per cent in the past two years. However, in 2015 officers were given new guidance telling them to wait for a police helicopter unless there were exceptional circumstances for mounting a ground pursuit.

Motorbike-related crimes include an average of 22 robberies a day, from smash-and-grab raids to mobile phone snatches from pedestrians where moped riders mount the pavement.

The Met said the rise in such crimes, which was mainly due to teenagers stealing mopeds and using them to commit offences, was a “huge concern”.

Despite the surge, the force’s “police driver and vehicle policy” states that officers can only stage pursuits in rare cases such as if the rider is involved in a serious offence or “there is clear potential for grave consequences” such as “an immediate threat to life, significant damage to property or issues of national security”.

The figures, revealed in a written answer from Mayor Sadiq Khan, show 1,299 pursuit-related incidents were recorded by the Metropolitan Police Service between January and December last year, 363 of them involving a motorcycle. Of the latter, 264 pursuits were discontinued after authorisation and 118 were stopped because of the risk posed to the public or the suspects.


The National Police Air Service should be called in when possible, but if a helicopter is not available the pursuit should be stopped.

A Met spokesman said the option of pursuit “has many layers of continuous and proportionality risk assessment”.

A shopkeeper chases moped robbers on Whitton High Street
He added: “Officers are appropriately trained and equipped to minimise risk and the MPS pursuit policy is based upon the national policing best practice guidelines.

“The MPS can and will undertake pursuits in any situation where it is necessary to do so, in line with nationally approved tactics. However, we must first ensure the safety of our officers, the public and the suspect when bringing offenders to justice.”

Last month, 14 people were arrested during dawn raids involving more than 100 officers as part of a five-month operation to dismantle a suspected gang using mopeds to commit thefts and robberies across north London.

Met police say ‘safety policy’ forces officers to abandon 1 in 3 motorbike chases