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PCC calls on car firms to give buyers steering locks

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner is calling on car retailers to give away steering wheel locks in a bid to cut thefts.

Simon Foster will write to retailers in the region to encourage them to provide steering wheel locks at the point of sale.

Recent statistics show car crime has increased by more than a third in the last year alone and nearly quadrupled since 2015.

As criminals use increasingly sophisticated technology to bypass electronic security systems, like remote central locking or keyless cars, Mr Foster urged car firms to take advantage of traditional methods of security, such as steering wheel locks and Faraday pouches.

According to the Association of British Insurers, the continued global shortage of semiconductors has been a factor in the increase in thefts.

That’s been made worse by the fallout from the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The average car can contain up to 3,000 semiconductor chips, and the shortage impacts on vehicle repair times.

The PCC has also recently written to the government to urge it to provide a list of vehicles which are commonly stolen, so as to provide consumers with an informed choice, encourage manufactures to prioritise the security of vehicles.

He wants the government to hold to account those manufactures who are consistently neglecting the security of their customers’ vehicles.  The PCC has been publishing similar lists locally, but wants the problem to be addressed at a national level.

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

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

His intervention came as the Association of British Insurers revealed the cost of premiums has risen by 1.3%.

Callum Tanner, the ABI’s Manager, General Insurance, said the industry couldn’t carry all the costs.

He said: “Insurers appreciate that these are difficult times for many households dealing with the rising cost of living. While, like many other sectors, motor insurers are facing higher cost pressures of their own, which are becoming increasingly challenging to absorb.”

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