PCC calls for motorcycle ‘tracker devices’
Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner has called for "all motorbikes" to be fitted with “tracker devices... so their whereabouts and speed can be monitored”.
PCC Kim McGuinness (Labour) has argued that “the trackers would be an impactful tool in the fight against bike crime, would prevent thefts and anti-social behaviour and in turn improve the lives of local people” and has called on the government to introduce new laws to facilitate this.
Although denying that “law-abiding bikers” were being targeted too, PCC McGuinness said: “A tough approach needs to be taken and I fully back our force with this, especially when engagement and education isn’t getting through to those responsible.”
“But what I really want is to go a step further and I believe trackers would be a real deterrent. There is a growing sense of momentum in our region to put a stop to this problem. I want to build on this and think government support to make trackers a real possibility would be a good place to start.”
The proposal has caused significant concern, however, and Craig Carey-Clinch of the newly formed National Motorcycle Council has already responded to PCC McGuinness. Speaking to Motorcycle News, he said: “Most motorcyclists are law-abiding citizens and won’t appreciate feeling they are all being put on something akin to a criminal ‘tagging’ sanction. This is, sadly, a poorly thought-through idea which would guarantee negative impacts for legitimate riders, not least on their personal privacy, but is unlikely to impact on law breakers - whose first action would be likely to simply disable or remove the trackers."
Commenting, BMF Chairman Jim Freeman said: "This proposal is as sinister as it is unfair, and the British Motorcyclists Federation objects strongly to it and the assumptions behind it. The mandatory use of a tracker is usually a sentence imposed by the courts after due process has been followed, but this would be tantamount to a collective punishment that sweeps hundreds of thousands of innocents up along with the tiny minority of the guilty without an investigation, trial or verdict. The vast majority of motorcyclists are responsible and law-abiding citizens from all walks of life who have done nothing to justify being treated like criminals and there are far better solutions to the genuine problem of anti-social behaviour than this. Also, the draconian precedent it sets would be horrifyingly Orwellian - should we start adding tracking devices to cars, bicycles and even shoes too, since a criminal might just as easily use them to travel to commit a crime?"
Ironically, the use of GPS tracking devices is also a tactic used by criminals to locate and steal motorcycles. You can find out more about it and advice on what to do if you discover a tracking device on your bike here.
UPDATE (15/04/2021): For the latest developments in this story, please visit our new page here.