Moped crime: Diane Abbott criticised by Camden police officers over stance on tactical collisions
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Comments by Diane Abbott criticising police who deliberately collide with moped riders have angered officers in Camden, which until recently suffered from London’s highest rate of moped-related crime.
Referring to a statement made by the head of the Metropolitan Police Federation calling for police to be better protected in the event of knocking a moped rider off their bike during a pursuit, Ms Abbott tweeted: “Knocking people off bikes is potentially very dangerous. It shouldn’t be legal for anyone. Police are not above the law.”
The official @MPSCamden account replied curtly: “Someone who’s responsible for law-making (or at least debating and ratifying new legislation) should probably realise that using tactical contact to terminate dangerous pursuits is entirely within our lawful power... And our responsibility.”
Local police Twitter accounts are commonly operated by local officers and they do not speak for the Met as a whole.
Camden saw a drop in moped crime of 90 per cent om October 2018 compared to the same month a year ago. October 2017 had 742 moped crimes registered, but this fell to just 72 this year.
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It is official police policy to attempt to make “tactical contact” if it is deemed necessary during a chase.
This summer the operational lead for the anti-moped crime Operation Venice in Camden and Islington told this newspaper tactical collisions were “the biggest deterrent” to moped crooks and had played a huge role in bringing down the rate of bike-enabled crime.
The officer running @MPSCamden told this newspaper they felt it necessary to intervene.
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They declined to give their name but said: “The particular phrase referring to police officers being above the law I felt was incorrect and showed a lack of understanding of the law as it stands.
“I felt her statement was biased and based on a dislike of police using force on principle rather than showing a reasoned opinion based on fact and knowledge of the law as it stands.”
The Waltham Forest police account also criticised Ms Abbott, while her government counterpart home secretary Sajid Javid backed the use of the tactic. Mr Javid tweeted himself: “Risk-assessed tactical contact is exactly what we need. Criminals are not above the law.”
Ms Abbott has been contacted for comment.