Headlines: February 6th, 2001

Vehicle crime was reduced by 7 per cent last year and the Home Office has revealed one of the tactics used by police to achieve this reduction. Almost three quarters of police forces in the UK parked ‘decoy’ vehicles at crime hotspots as bait for offenders. Intruders were then trapped using fuel cut-off switches or locking windows and doors or caught by tracking devices, the marking of car parts or surveillance.In one area the use of decoy vehicles over a three year period has reduced theft by 44 per cent and the theft of Ford Transit vans by 60 per cent.

Some police forces are put off from using decoy vehicles by health and safety implications, fear of agent provocateur accusations as well as resource issues and access to suitable vehicles.

Decisions about the type of decoy vehicles to use are now informed by the Car Theft Index 2000 which gives a detailed breakdown of which make, model and year of car most likely to be stolen. See www.crimereduction.gov.uk.

Information provided by Horn Ltd, suppliers of specialist police information http://www.Horn.ltd.uk