Police ’steal’ valuables from cars in a lesson for drivers

Daily Mail
25.08.2009
By Daily Mail Reporter

Police are removing valuables from unlocked cars to shock motorists into being more careful.

Officers in London are taking everything from handbags to satnavs, and leaving a note telling drivers their property is at a local police station.

The scheme is being tried out in Richmond, south west London, which has a disproportionately high level of thefts from cars - up 40  per cent in a year.

Police from the area’s Safer Neighbourhood teams are being told to look out for cars with open windows or doors.

If they find valuables on display they will try to find the owner nearby, but if they cannot they will take the goods to Twickenham police station.

Drivers who leave their car unlocked but with nothing on display will get a letter telling them to be more careful.

The project has the backing of Richmond council, which agreed to it after a surge in thefts to between April and July, a fifth of which were from unlocked cars.

David Williams, the council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: ‘We have the lowest level of crime per head of any borough.

‘However, one problem we have got is too many thefts from motor vehicles. The main reason for this is sheer thoughtlessness and carelessness by car owners.’

Luke Bosdet, a spokesman for the AA, was cautious about the project.

‘Not everyone will react well to having to go to the police station to retrieve their property.

Last month, it was revealed that Police and Community Officers  - known as Blunkett Bobbies - in Hove, East Sussex, were wandering uninvited into properties during a burglary crackdown.

Full article

Comment from Daily Mail reader

This is really sinister. Taking away our freedom to be foolish is still taking away our freedom.

If somebody feels like leaving their car open, it doesn’t matter whether the police or anyone else thinks it’s dumb. It’s no-one else’s business but the owner’s.

Feeling they have the right to effectively steal our stuff and force us to spend hours out of our day to get it back just shows the increasingly authoritarian nature of the relationship between the people and the police.

- Malcolml, London, UK, 25/8/2009 17:11

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