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More Vehicle Theft & Recovery a Post Code Lottery

More Vehicle Theft & Recovery a Post Code Lottery

Freedom of Information (FoI) requests to constabularies across South East England by motor insurance loss adjuster Claims Management & Adjusting, part of the QuestGates Group, have revealed huge disparities in stolen vehicle recovery performance.

In London last year, the Metropolitan Police found well over half (54.28%) of all vehicles reported stolen, whereas Bedfordshire Police recovered only 8.38% and Kent Police even less, just 5.65%.

2023 Stolen Vehicle Recovery Rate 

Constabulary Stolen Recovered % Recovered
Met (London) 33,864 18,381 54.28%
Essex 5,489 1,688 30.75%
Cambridgeshire 1,518 269 17.72%
Bedfordshire 1,564 131 8.38%
Kent 2,429 131 5.65%

 Source: CMA analysis of police data

Philip Swift, a former detective, now Technical Director at CMA, said:

“We know from our day-to-day work that some constabularies are much better than others when it comes to finding stolen cars. These new figures put that postcode lottery into shockingly sharp focus. This is a trend which deserves far more attention. It affects all makes and models, and it plays a significant role in increasing insurance premiums. Take Kent for example, if 95% of stolen vehicles are never seen again, you do the math. 150 Land Rover Evoques at £40k each is £6m in lost assets. 200 Ford Fiestas at £15k each is another £3m. Back in the 1990s, the national average recovery rate was around 70%. It is nowhere near that now. According to this new data, the average for the South East is currently about 25%.”

“There are big questions to answer here.

  • Why is the Met apparently ten times better at stolen vehicle recovery than neighbouring Kent?
  • Why are certain constabularies seemingly so reluctant to provide even basic data when the Met can tell us the condition of the vehicles found?
  • Why has the Home Office’s Vehicle Theft Taskforce, established in 2019, apparently only ever met once?

The overall impression is that tackling vehicle theft just isn’t a priority.

Meanwhile, motorists are left facing a triple whammy – the shock and hassle associated with the initial crime, the combination of more thefts and less recovery bringing pressure to increase premiums, and, as a final kicker, delays to policy settlements while the police work through a spiralling number of crime report requests from insurers.”