Sadiq Khan attacks car brands and demands action over soaring vehicle theft rates - 'Beggars belief!'

Sadiq Khan attacks car brands and demands action over soaring vehicle theft rates - 'Beggars belief!'

WATCH: Mark Harper pledges to help drivers

Hemma Visavadia

By Hemma Visavadia

Published: 16/02/2024

- 11:01

'Worryingly, changes in technology mean it’s now arguably easier to steal a car than a few years ago'

The Mayor of London has criticised the Government for not doing enough to prevent car thefts across London as more vehicles go missing overnight.

In a letter to car manufacturers, Sadiq Khan demanded more action after the latest data round by the Office of National Statistics showed vehicle thefts in England and Wales rose eight per cent in the 12 months to September last year.

The Metropolitan Police Service estimated 33,000 cars were stolen last year with 60 per cent of them from vehicles with keyless entry.

Sadiq Khan has warned that despite widespread awareness of the hazards keyless cars pose, the industry has been slow in developing and implementing solutions to address them with the security burden remaining on the consumer.

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Sadiq Khan urges more help on cutting vehicle thefts

Sadiq Khan has called on car brands and the Home Secretary to crack down on vehicle thefts


Due to the increased rate of car crime, insurers have forced up premiums in the capital to an all-time high of 60 per cent compared with last year.

The rise in thefts prompted the car brand Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) to create its own unique insurance for cars hoping to add an extra layer of protection for drivers.

The insurance ensures any repairs are completed by a JLR-authorised bodyshop, using only genuine parts. The policy offers no deposits or interest charges and clients are able to amend or cancel their cover with no fee.

In a letter to car manufacturers, Khan said: “It’s beggars belief that in 2024, cars can be stolen within seconds. Worryingly, changes in technology mean it’s now arguably easier to steal a car than a few years ago.

“The leadership and innovation of your companies is critical to tackling this issue, as you control the security features of new vehicles and can design out current and emerging security vulnerabilities.

“However, I have written to you previously about this issue and I am not yet confident that the industry as a whole is doing enough to address the security risks faced by vehicle owners, particularly for those models most targeted by criminals.”

The Mayor also sent a letter to the Home Secretary, urging the Home Office to explore what role legislation and regulations could play in helping to drive up security standards in vehicle manufacturing.

Specific areas Khan highlighted for consideration include closing the security gaps in keyless car systems and creating a mandatory switch-off of vehicle Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when the vehicle is not in use.

Khan added: “It is clear that current judicial outcomes for those in organised criminal gangs orchestrating large-scale theft do not reflect the severity and perniciousness of their crimes.

“I ask that you strengthen sentencing guidelines for organised crime gang nominals found to be involved in vehicle theft to reflect the severity of this type of crime.”

Northumbria police recently had their hands full tracking down three missing vehicles that were suspected of being stolen in the Newcastle area.

The police said: “We know that vehicle crime can have a significant impact on the communities which we serve – with opportunistic thieves looking for a quick win.


Range Rover thefts increase

Thefts have prompted Jaguar Land Rover to create its own unique insurance


“Following this particular spate of incidents, we quickly carried out a wide range of enquiries to track down the vehicles which had been stolen and recover them so they can be returned to their rightful owners.”

Offering advice to the local community, the police added that drivers should make sure vehicles are locked, alarms are activated and consider other security measures if possible, such as steering locks or wheel locks.

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