Police put under 'strain' by threat of prosecution for driver who knocked criminal off moped

Police put under 'strain' by threat of prosecution for driver who knocked criminal off moped

Camden has reduced its moped crime by 90% since ramming offenders off bikes, says former policeman Chris Hobbs. Image: Getty

Thursday, December 6, 2018

A former policeman has said police will be put under "great strain" because of the threat of prosecution to a police driver who knocked a teen off a moped.

Chris Hobbs, a former detective with the Metropolitan Police, spoke to James Whale on the talkRADIO drivetime show after it emerged that a policeman who used the tactic could face charges.

He rammed the moped last November in Erith, south east London, causing the rider to suffer a broken foot and head injuries. He was not wearing a helmet.

The 17-year-old was then arrested and admitted attempted theft, but the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) began to investigate whether the officer had “proper authorisation” to knock the teen off the bike.

The IOPC is expected to decide within weeks whether to recommend the policeman is prosecuted.


'It's necessary'


Mr Hobbs said he thought the public were largely in favour of the ramming tactic.

“It’s necessary - these individuals ride around recklessly, often the bikes are stolen, they can inflict terrible damage on people including murdering them,” he said.

“They cause injuries and trauma, the whole thing was getting out of control.”

Moped crime figures in London were down 36% between January and October this year compared to 2017, and Mr Hobbs said the borough of Camden had reduced the moped crime rate by 90% since knocking offenders off their bikes.

He added that police had low confidence in the IOPC.

“I think what’s happened is, the police have referred this to the Independent Office for Police Complaints, who are loathed and not trusted by police officers in any event.

“They have conducted an investigation and possibly will pass evidence to the Crime Prosecution Service, who will then decide whether that officer can be prosecuted or not.

“It’s a torturous process, and causes the officers great strain.”

The Metropolitan Police Federation said officers’ “livelihoods and liberty remain at risk” unless new measures to protect them in such situations were introduced.