The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner has written an open letter to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, calling on them to address the increase in vehicle thefts.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is the industry body for the motor industry and represents over 800 automotive companies in the UK.

David Jamieson has moved his campaign up a gear, after an incident where a West Midlands police officer received serious life changing injuries, following a pursuit of a stolen keyless vehicle.

Many of the vehicle thefts result in highly dangerous pursuits, risking the lives of both police officers and members of the public.

The PCC is angry at the apparent ease at which criminals are stealing cars and has pledged to publish car theft data every six months so motorists can make informed decisions about their choice of vehicle.

David  Jamieson took the decision to publish the statistics, despite opposition from motor manufacturers, after growing increasingly concerned that not enough was being done to make cars secure.

The PCC has been leading a national campaign calling on motor manufacturers to close security loopholes. Last year, he held a car theft summit and met with BMW, Honda, Ford, Nissan, Audi and Jaguar Land Rover to demand they do more to prevent cars from being taken by crooks.

The Home Office Vehicle Crime Taskforce also approached the PCC to work with it to tackle the issue.

The letter to the SMMT also encourages other Police and Crime Commissioner’s to publish similar lists in their own force areas.

Read the letter in full:

Dear Mike

West Midlands Car Statistics 2019

My campaign for greater car security is now moving up a gear, following an incident where a West Midlands police officer received serious life changing injuries, following a pursuit of a stolen, keyless vehicle.

Many of the vehicle thefts result in highly dangerous pursuits, risking the lives of both police officers and members of the public. This situation cannot be allowed to continue.

In the first 7 months this year, West Midlands Police have recorded 5,527 stolen motor vehicles – double the entire amount stolen in 2015.

Of the 5,527 motor vehicles stolen so far this year, 1557 (28%) of those were Ford vehicles showing that they are the most popular target for car thieves.

The disproportionate number of Ford vehicles stolen is even more alarming, when you consider the number of those stolen has risen from 489 in 2015 to 1,557 so far in 2019.

The data also reveals 432 Audi’s have been stolen so far this year, compared to 199 in 2015. Similarly, Mercedes has also seen an increase in theft, rising from 114 in 2015 to 529 so far this year.

It is clear that the momentum for most vehicle manufacturers to make their vehicles more secure, is going at snail’s pace. Consumer organisations are disappointed, at what many are describing as limp excuses by the SMMT.

In the recent What Car? article you are quoted as saying “vehicle manufacturers are continually investing and developing new security features – including motion-sensing key fobs and other technologies – to try to stay one step ahead of criminals. This is an ongoing and extremely costly battle.”

What you failed to mention is the cost and expense to the vehicle owners. Drivers are now paying vastly inflated insurance premiums for their cars because they are so easily stolen.

I am angry at the apparent ease at which criminals are stealing cars and I have pledged to publish car theft data every six months so motorists can make informed decisions about their choice of vehicle. I will be encouraging other Police and Crime Commissioner’s to publish similar lists in their own force areas.

You may also be interested to know that numerous media outlets will be pursuing this story.

If you would like a meeting to discuss increasing the safety of vehicles I would be happy to meet. In the meantime, I thought you should be aware that I am escalating my campaign for increased car security to reduce risk to our police officers and the public.

Also, you should be aware that this letter will be available to the public.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

David Jamieson

Police and Crime Commissioner

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