Uniformed ‘Scorpion’ officers are now authorised to hit riders with their own vehicle to unseat them, a move which has helped police achieve a 44 per cent drop in moped crime across the capital since October last year.
Footage of some of the 64 ‘tactical contacts’ that have been carried out by officers so far this year has now been released to the public.
Police say that from January to October this year there were 12,419 such offences across London, down from 19,455 during the same period in 2017.
Moped thefts in the capital were also down from 12,192 to 8,261 – a reduction of 38 per cent.
Commander of Front Line Policing Amanda Pearson said: “It’s extremely dynamic and rapid. It’s forward thinking. We try to mitigate that pursuit but if we end up in a pursuit, if that means tactical contact we are looking at as slow a speed as possible.
“Those riders are not just riding dangerously in a pursuit. They are riding dangerously before it’s a police issue. It’s not police that are creating that danger.
“We have to weigh up the risk to them and to the public – if we don’t intervene what is going to happen.
“We acknowledge there’s a risk of injury but we have to weigh up that risk of injury to them in terms of ongoing harm should we not intervene.”
No complaints of serious injury caused during these stops have been made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission so far, according to the Commander.
Chief Inspector Jim Corbett said the force is also trying to dispel the myth that police will not continue a pursuit if a driver takes off his helmet: riders can still face being pursued and are at a greater risk of injury if they are thrown from the vehicle without any safety gear.
Chief Inspector Corbett said: “Another myth is they think they can’t be recognised. A moped robber that made the front page of the Evening Standard wielding a hammer was recognised by his eyes.
“The group of three men arrested in relation to that incident was later found out to be responsible for 103 offences.”
London’s front line officers have also been handed sprays to forensically tag both suspects and mopeds
UV scanners at police stations can then pick up whether an offender has been sprayed, so they can be linked back to other crimes.
The force has also introduced automatic tyre deflation devices – commonly known as stingers – to stop offenders in their tracks. Operated by a remote control, the spikes can be deployed electronically within seconds.