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Metropolitan Police hits back at petition signed by more than 30,000 calling for officers on motorbikes to chase criminals

The petition claims officers do not currently pursue motorbike thieves who steal people's property and drive away

The Metropolitan Police has hit back at a petition which calls for officers to pursue criminals on motorbikes who steal people's property saying the force "can and will undertake pursuits."

The force has reacted to a petition which has been set up by Diogo Sousa and signed by 30,948 people which is titled "allow police on motorbikes to chase criminals".

The petition claims that the "Metropolitan Police can do absolutely nothing to protect you or follow up the investigation" when a criminal on a motorised bike steal property.

It follows a spate of crimes in London in which motorbike and moped riders drive up and steal from unsuspecting victims.

This week, a gang of moped riders were seen targeting a jewellery store in Chelsea.

Footage caught the end of the incident as the group rode away from the scene.

The change.org petition claims that the criminals on motorbikes "jump red lights and wear no helmets and reg plates."

"Even worse than knowing these criminals are around your area is that the Metropolitan Police can do absolutely nothing to protect you or follow up the investigation as they leave no evidence behind," the petition states.

"Police vehicles are not legally allowed to pursue criminals in most circumstances due to safety concerns, criminals safety and pedestrians as well."

However the Met Police has refuted the claim and a spokesman said that officers will undertake pursuits if it is safe to do so.

Police have been warning residents to be aware of phone snatchers(Image: Met Police)

A spokesman for the force said: "The MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) can and will undertake pursuits in any situation where it is necessary and proportionate to do so, in line with nationally approved guidance on pursuing powered 2-wheelers (P2W).

"Any pursuit carries risk, and additional safeguards are in place for P2W pursuits.

"MPS and National Policy is designed to ensure the safety of our officers, the public and the suspect during a pursuit.

"Only specially trained officers are authorised to engage in pursuit activity and they are supported by a tactical advisor, and a senior officer in our Command and Control centre has oversight."

The spokesman said a driver or pillion removing their crash helmet does not mean the pursuit will be automatically terminated but officers and tactical advisors will make a call based on the type of crime being committed, and the risk posed to other road users and if it is safe to continue the pursuit.

"We have at our disposal a range of tactics to bring a pursuit to a safe conclusion, including air support and tyre deflation devices, which deflate tyres gradually so the vehicle safely slows to a stop," the spokesman said.

"We also have a range of pre-emptive tactics to stop pursuits occurring in the first place."

However Mr Sousa, who set up the petition, is at odds with the force and argues his aim is for people to support the petition and put pressure on Parliament to discuss the issue for police to pursue criminals who carry out these crimes on motorbikes.

The petition has reached 2,277 signatures out of 2,500(Image: change.org)

Brian Lloyd has commented on the petition. He said: "It's about time police had full powers back and not tied down with red political tape."

Lee Patrick said: "The laws need to change. More and more criminals are on the fact they can easily commit crimes and escape on scooters without being pursued or challenged."

Graham Bates commented: "Maximum force should be always necessary to catch these criminals and to set a precedent to others that crime does not pay and you will be caught and tried and punished if you break the law."

Earlier this year three teens pleaded guilty to 103 moped-enabled robberies within the space of just less than three weeks across areas in central London.

The three teenagers, aged 15, 16 and 17, appeared at Southwark Crown Court on June 27 charged with conspiracy to rob in relation to 103 separate offences.

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