The MPS response to tackling the growing crime of catalytic converter theft is a combination of enforcement tactics and engagement, which includes crime prevention and partnership work.
One example of successful enforcement action was Operation Basswood conducted by the MPS last year, when nine suspects involved in the organised theft of catalytic converters were arrested and are currently awaiting trial. The operation recovered three stolen caravans, with a further ten vehicles seized for excise and traffic offences. In total, 33 catalytic converters and £65,000 in cash were seized.
Operation Basswood led to a 49% reduction in offences across London and contributed to two weeks of national enforcement action. This work is coordinated by the National Infrastructure Crime Reduction Partnership which was established in September 2019. The Partnership is delivering a national multi-agency approach to tackling metal and infrastructure crime across the UK. The MPS is currently preparing for another national week of enforcement action.
In terms of crime prevention, the MPS is working with partners, including car manufacturers, to improve and create crime prevention initiatives such as ‘Cat Marking’ events’ with Smartwater products. I have also written on two occasions to the Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) to express my concerns about the increase in catalytic converter theft and to ask the Society to work with the MPS to tackle this problem.
The MPS and partners are also working on making representations for legislative change to make cash for scrap an offence across the whole waste industry.