HC Deb 01 May 1969 vol 782 cc1601-2
20. Mr. Barnes

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the increasing number of car thefts taking place in the Metropolitan Police area and the measures being taken to combat them.

Mr. Elystan Morgan

With reference to the number of mechanically propelled vehicles stolen or unlawfully taken and driven away in 1968; this was 11.5 per cent. more than in 1967 but was 4 per cent. less than in 1966. Particular attention in police training and organisation is being paid to the problem of car thefts. Frustration of the thief is nevertheless primarily a matter for car owners, whose intelligent co-operation is constantly sought by the police.

Mr. Barnes

Is my hon. Friend satisfied that a proper record, which can be quickly referred to, is kept of the chassis numbers of stolen cars, and has he been able to find out why the police did not have the chassis number of a stolen car which a constituent of mine unwittingly bought and about which I have written to my hon. Friend?

Mr. Morgan

This does not arise on the original Question, but I will look into the case referred to by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Hogg

Is not the unlawful appropriation of cars often a prelude to their use for criminal purposes and, bearing in mind the responsibility of the owner, will the hon. Gentleman consider what can be done to bring home to car owners that they may be encouraging robbery with violence by leaving their cars insufficiently protected?

Mr. Morgan

Yes, this has already been done. A great step forward in the prevention of car thefts was the agreement, announced on 23rd May last year, with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders for the fitting of anti-theft devices on all new models of motor cars and light vans on or after 1st January, 1970, and on all motor cars and light vans produced on or after 1st January, 1971.

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