Car been stolen? That will be £105 if you want us to investigate, Sir.

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Satch

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Car crime victims must foot the bill
10 May 2007

Victims of car crime are being told their cases will not be investigated - unless they pay more than £100 for the privilege.

Police say they will not conduct fingerprint or DNA tests to discover who might have stolen a car or motorbike unless a fee is first paid to a private company - in Norfolk it is Recovery Management Services - which is responsible for recovering and storing stolen vehicles.

Owners will be given a straight choice when their vehicle is found - if they want the case taken further, they will have to pay; otherwise it will be left for them to sort themselves.

The new charges, which start at £105, have been introduced by the Home Office but have immediately been attacked as an extra layer of tax, a penalty on those already traumatised by falling victim to crime and also a first step towards the privatisation of policing.

The issue emerged after a Norwich motorist was charged £150 to recover a motorbike stolen from his home on Saturday morning. The bike was found an hour later less than a mile from his home.

Norwich North MP Ian Gibson said: “If I had my car stolen through no fault of my own and was then asked to pay for it to be investigated, I would be pretty angry.

“The police are always complaining that they are hard up, but this suggests they are now going down the road of privatisation. What's next? Will we have to pay for officers to attend a house burglary?

“Taxpayers already pay twice for policing, through central taxation and council tax. It's ludicrous to charge them a third time for the police to do their job.”

While in theory the fees are optional, only those who pay up can ensure their vehicles are checked for clues. Victims are told the fees - implemented by forces across the country including Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire - are to cover storage.

However, a Home Office-approved letter states that if the fee is not paid: “[The police force will accept] no further responsibility and will be unable to take further action to identify the person who took it.”

On top of the “storage” fee, victims in Norfolk must pay £15 for every night a vehicle is held by police. Many motorists cannot reclaim this through their insurance policies.

Stephen Bett, chairman of Norfolk Police Authority, said: “If this has been foisted upon us by the Home Office, there is very little we can do - but I can understand why people are peeved by it. The fact is the Home Office is constantly trying to find methods to raise funds and this is just the latest attempt.”

Glenn Burrows had his Wu Yang 125 motorbike, worth £1,100, stolen from outside his home in St Leonard's Road, Norwich, at about 4.30pm on Saturday. He was initially delighted when officers recovered it at Heathgate, about half a mile away.

He said: “At first I was impressed at how efficient the police had been but then I was told about this charge. Because of the bank holiday I wasn't able to recover it until Tuesday, by which time I owed £150.

“I feel like I'm paying the police to do their job and I thought I was already doing that through my taxes.”

A Norfolk police spokesman said no figures were available for the number of people who have paid recovery fees or the total amount the force has received since their introduction. But latest crime figures show there were 1,577 car thefts last year - the equivalent of 131 each month.

The spokesman said: “Norfolk police operates with Recovery Management Services Limited which makes recoveries on behalf of the police for the whole of Norfolk and their fees are statutory charges set by the government.

“Part of our policy involves recovery of stolen vehicles in order to ensure that they are not re-stolen and recovering abandoned vehicles which maybe subject to investigations.

“Although each case is assessed individually, before recovery is made using RMS Limited, officers make every effort to contact the rightful vehicle owner at the first opportunity to allow them to recover their vehicle promptly themselves.”

http://new.edp24.co.uk/content/news...gory=news&itemid=NOED10 May 2007 08:09:49:133
 
I'm so sick of this country now. This is just another tax on the victims of crime - no wonder the criminals laugh at the "system". Even less chance of them getting caught now - on the plus side, I suppose it will keep the prison population down. Trebles all round.

So, what's next? My guess is that insurance companies will refuse to pay out if the police aren't investigating - and that will mean even more uninsured drivers on the road. Let's face it, if you're on a tight budget and driving a £500 shed then it's pretty difficult (in some people's minds) to justify paying the cost of insurance anyway - potentially having to shell out £150 if your car gets stolen will tip the balance in a lot of those cases, and they'll simply not bother. Nice work, whoever thought this little policy up.

I don't blame the coppers for this - but it's getting to the stage now where it'll soon be a two-tier police system, with your average Plod just acting as a glorified tax collector, and "justice", whatever that means these days, only available to those who afford to pay for the privilege.

We are all going to hell in a handcart ( (c) R.Littlejohn)

Yours with disappointment, but sadly not the slightest sense of surprise,

Gaz
 
I had to check the date? I thought it might be an April fool?

A few years ago if we wanted to telephone the local police we would have to dial an 0870 number, the reason for this was to allegedly pay for extra staff to answer the telephone. Police informants had there own 0800 number.

Crime is down, Polce numbers are up. Honest guv we have nothing to do nowadays apart from serving the public that pay our wages.

John
 
The poor victim gets robbed twice now :mad:
 
The poor victim gets robbed twice now :mad:

There are 3 kinds of people who use this forum, those who can count and those who cant :D

I pay tax on earnings, some of which funds the police.

I pay council tax, some of which funds the police.

If some theiving scum can't keep his hands to himself I'm supposed to fund the police again ????

If in a few years time, I have my own individual gas inspector paid for out of my taxes counting and charging me an emissions tax every time I break wind I will not be in the slightest bit surprised.

As someone has already said, they're just encouraging people to take the illegal route.
 
There are 3 kinds of people who use this forum, those who can count and those who cant :D .
:)

Good evening Ray,
Congratulations on the signature pictures :bannana: :bannana: :bannana: (one for each) :)
 
It must take a long time for news to reach Norfolk as the Times ran this story on April 15th!

The papers have twisted the story a bit. These charges are not new. The main change is that you now have an option to say "don't bother I'll recover it myself".

Here is a quote from another forum posted in response to the Times article:

What the article is basically saying is that if your stolen car is found by the police then you will be given two options of what can happen. Firstly if you want to arrange your own collection/recovery of the vehicle yourself then it fine but that is as far as the investigation can go. Or secondly the police can arrange the recovery through one of their approved contractors, where the car will be taken to the contractors garage which will have special SOCO facilities where the car will be examined by the police forces forensic team.

The £105 fee is the statutory fee that then has to be paid to the recovery garage before the car is released back to the owner. The fee is not for the police (bad reporting) it is to cover the contractors costs of recovering the car and preserving it in a secure undercover area until it can be forensically examined. There will also be a storage fee of £12 per day whilst the car is under the care of the recovery garage, which again is a statutory fee.

So why does the car have to be recovered by an approved garage just so it can be forensically examined? - This is because the car has to recovered with the minimum amount of contamination to preserve any evidence inside/outside the car. The car is taken away and stored inside where it is not allowed to be touched by anyone until the SOCO teams have finished with it. The car has to be kept inside to keep it dry as you can't fingerprint a damp/wet vehicle and it has to be kept in a 'clean' area where it can not become contaminated with other evidence. So for you to drive your own car home, park it in the street where anyone could touch it and then expect a SOCO team to fingerprint it in the rain is just not practical.

This system has been going on for years so why it has suddenly been reported in the Sunday Times remains a mystery. Maybe it is because they are now going to contact the owner of the vehicle prior to the police arranging their own recovery to give the owners the option of sorting it out themselves and for free. In the past it has been usual practice for the police to just have the vehicle recovered regardless.

So in summary the £105 is the recovery fee paid to the approved garage and not anything to do with paying the forensic team to examine your car.
 
Thanks for the clarification DC Insider.
The points I woudl make are that you can probably insure against this and secondly that this seemd to be an improvement in service given that they rarely dust and check all receovered cars anyway. This gives you an option.
 
Thanks for the clarification DC Insider.
The points I woudl make are that you can probably insure against this and secondly that this seemd to be an improvement in service given that they rarely dust and check all receovered cars anyway. This gives you an option.

I think you are right about the insurance - the recovery cost should be paid by insurers.
 
In my opinion it still adds up to same thing surely. If you want it done properly, you still have to pay, otherwise any evidence could be reputed in court as being contaminated.
 
I think you are right about the insurance - the recovery cost should be paid by insurers.
Recovery costs is one thing but surely in this modern age in which we live forensic evidence has improved and hopefully the Police have better options other than finger prints? Here might not be the place to suggest alternatives but I would suggest it is highly likely the thief will leave something behind.

To me it is just another example of crime being de-prioritised. Stealing a car is not theft??? It is simply taking it away??

How comes I would be charged with theft if I stole a TV or video recorder. I have no intention of keeping them, I merely want to watch and record the cup final, the owner can have it back afterwards.

If my car is STOLEN and dumped four streets away, then I have been deprived of it. Why start making legal loopholes. For 'x' amount of time the thief permenantly deprived me of its use, but no, that won't wash, the poor darling had no intention of 'permenantly' depriving me, so it's not theft. Cobblers! Absolute mamby pamby cobblers. Tough on crime, more like tough on the victim of crime. Why should we pay for a Police service when we then start paying individual costs. The insurance should pay? Fine it is a long term theft where the insurance company own the car, but I pay for the Police service and to me the recovery of stolen property is part of that service. If your computer gets stolen, are we expected to pay for it's storage whilst a court case is pending? Why pick on the moltorist. Crime is crime is crime? Mind you I suppose the Police will disagree, they are after all very busy.

John
 
How comes I would be charged with theft if I stole a TV or video recorder. I have no intention of keeping them, I merely want to watch and record the cup final, the owner can have it back afterwards.

Please do not do that, if ever you needed a TV or video recorder to watch something on, just ask :)
 
In my opinion it still adds up to same thing surely. If you want it done properly, you still have to pay, otherwise any evidence could be reputed in court as being contaminated.

That is the point. Although it is a recovery fee the net effect is unless you, or ultimately your insurers perhaps, cough up no efforts will be made to investigate.
 

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