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One of the country’s last remaining police stolen vehicle squads has been saved from closure.
The Met’s stolen vehicle unit, which has worked to jail organised bike thieves with undercover stings and long-running investigations, had been earmarked for closure in police budget cuts.
But the unit is now to remain open, sources have confirmed.
Met bosses have told the squad it will remain operational after April 2012 – the date it was due to close – but staff will be reduced from 10 to six.
A source within the unit told MCN it mean the two officers currently dedicated to tackling bike theft may also have to focus on cars.
He said: “We have been given a reprieve but at this stage we don’t know whether or not we’ll have two dedicated people looking at bikes. We’re still pushing for it.”
He said stories in MCN about the squad’s threatened closure had helped its case.
“Ultimately it was a management decision,” he added. “We put forward our case on what we do. We’ve had to rebrand as part of the process.”
He said the rebranding would involve a new name reflecting the squad’s role in tackling serious organised crime.
A recent investigation by the squad led to six convictions over £100,000-worth of stolen bikes.
Our source said publicity over the threatened closure could prove useful to investigations because organised thieves may have “let their guard down”.
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