Home secretary Sajid Javid today (17) revealed that he was mugged on the streets of London for his mobile phone.
In an interview with the Sun on Sunday newspaper, the the cabinet member said he is looking into giving police more power to pursue so-called moped gangs of thieves, notorious for grabbing mobile phones in London and other cities of Britain.
Speaking of the incident, which happened a couple of years ago, he said: “I was angry and upset but thought myself lucky not to have been stabbed or beaten up like many other victims who fall prey to these vicious criminals.”
As part of their modus operandi, these typically two-member gangs ride up on to pavements and grab unsuspecting peoples phones from their hands and speed off.
Javid relived a similar episode he encountered outside Euston station in central London as he reached for his phone to call a taxi when the thieves rode on to the pavement and grabbed his phone and zoomed off.
“It happened in a flash Before I knew what was happening, it (the phone) had gone. They just rode up, grabbed it and zoomed off,” said Javid, who took charge of the home office in April and is in charge of policing and security in his ministerial role.
Among home office proposals announced last month, police drivers are being given more legal protection to smash the “myth” that officers cannot pursue riders who are not wearing helmets.
It followed concerns among officers that they risk prosecution for careless or dangerous driving if they chase criminals at high speed, particularly those on mopeds and motorcycles.
Javid told the newspaper: “It’s ridiculous. Police should be allowed to get on with the job. If someone commits a crime and police want to pursue them, they should have much more freedom to.”
In June, it was reported that more than 60 crimes using mopeds or motorbikes were carried out every day in London on average over the past year a 50 per cent increase on the previous 12 months.
Earlier this month, prime minister Theresa May was challenged about the government’s response to criminals using mopeds to carry crimes.
She said talks with police had taken place to make sure they had the powers they needed to be able to chase moped-riding criminals.
“This issue of moped crime is one that is of concern for people,” May admitted.
Popular British comedian Michael McIntyre was robbed for his watch by scooter-riding thieves while he was dropping off his kids to school in his Range Rover in north London. The windows of his car were smashed as the thieves demanded his Rolex.
There has been growing concern about violent crime in some parts of the UK, particularly in London and other big cities. Figures show that fewer than 5 per cent of burglary and robbery cases across the UK are being solved.
Scotland Yard said they were doing all they could to bring thieves to justice and putting a huge amount of effort into tackling a rise in moped-related crime, which the force said it has reduced.
The Metropolitan Police said a number of robbery offences can be attributed to scooter-related crime.
The Met has been putting a huge amount of effort into stemming the rise in these offences and bringing offenders to justice.