Only seven police forces cut car theft numbers last year

By Jack Evans
New data shows crimes were up by more than a third

Just seven police forces in England and Wales managed to cut car thefts last year, according to new statistics.

Staffordshire, along with Bedfordshire, Thames Valley, Surrey and Durham saw the highest rise in car thefts – up more than a fifth compared with 2017’s figures.

Staffordshire posted the greatest increase in car thefts, up 37.5 per cent, rising from 1,332 in 2017 to 1,831 in 2018. Bedfordshire’s figures were up 27.3 per cent from 1,054 to 1,342.

Only seven police forces in England and Wales recorded fewer car thefts in 2018 than the previous year, with the City of London (down 22 per cent), British Transport Police (down 12 per cent) and Wiltshire (down 11 per cent) all reporting double-digit cuts in thefts.

However, the research also found that five police forces – British Transport Police, Surrey, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire and the West Midlands – have reported that vehicle thefts have more than doubled in the past five years.

The research also found that four in ten of car thefts in England and Wales were reported by the Metropolitan Police and West Midland Police.

The data was collated by, who analysed Police recorded crime data on for 43 out of 44 police forces in England and Wales.

Alex Buttle, director of car selling comparison website, who analysed the Gov.UK data, said: “These troubling car crime figures suggest that over-stretched and under-resourced police forces are struggling to curb the rising number of car crimes, and in particular keyless car thefts.

“Advancements in anti-theft systems do not seem to be discouraging thieves, who are using a variety of ever-more sophisticated techniques to break into and start cars.

“The 21st century thief isn’t using a hammer to smash a window and hotwire a car. They’re armed with wireless transmitters, signal jammers and key programming devices, and can open car doors and start engines in seconds.”

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