Car makers told to give security measures away free of charge in thefts crackdown

A police chief has called for steering wheel locks to be given away free in a bid to reduce the region's soaring car crime rate.

Car thefts have rocketed across the West Midlands [pic: West Midlands PCC]
Car thefts have rocketed across the West Midlands [pic: West Midlands PCC]

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Simon Foster said car retailers should "play their part" in driving down thefts by providing locks free of charge with each vehicle sold.

The West Midlands has one of the highest car crime rates in the country, with the latest figures showing a rise of more than a third in the last year.

The force has urged all drivers to use a steering wheel lock and a Faraday pouch – a small bag which block a key's signals – as preventative measures against car crime.

Mr Foster said he plans to car retailers in the region to encourage them to provide steering wheel locks free of charge at the point of sale.

He said the measure could provide a "simple solution to an ever-evolving problem".

"Retailers and car manufacturers must do much more to ensure their consumers’ vehicles are secure," Mr Foster said.

"I want car retailers to play their part in driving down vehicle thefts.

"For the cost of just a few pounds they can supply a steering wheel lock and Faraday pouch that will help keep the vehicles they sell secure and out of the hands of thieves.

"No one should spend tens of thousands of pounds on a vehicle only for it to be stolen months, weeks or sometimes, days, later, as a consequence of the level of security on that vehicle being unfit for purpose."

Earlier this year Mr Foster called on ministers to publish a list of the most commonly stolen vehicles in an effort to encourage manufacturers to improve security on their vehicles.

According to official figures published in March, Alfa Romeos, Fords, Abarths, Land Rovers and Range Rovers are the most likely cars to be stolen in the West Midlands.

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