Vehicle theft in England and Wales has continued to rise dramatically, according to figures from a Freedom of Information request conducted by AX

While the Covid-19 lockdown may yet reduce vehicle thefts in 2020, responses obtained from police forces across England and Wales suggest theft of motor vehicles rose by a significant 21% between 2016 and 2019, following analysis by the provider of intelligent vehicle protection and management technologies. 

Much of that increase occurred between financial years 2016/17 and 2017/18, with figures rising by 14.1%, although the figures continued to rise by a further 6.1% between years 2017/18 and 2018/19. 

Of the Police forces that responded, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire Police saw the largest increases, with Nottinghamshire Police reporting an overall rise of some 60%. 

Hertfordshire, Surrey, West Midlands and Essex Police also saw well-above average increases, with each seeing overall surges of more than 40%. 

At the other end of the scale, some forces have seen a decrease in motor vehicle thefts, including Merseyside Police and Avon and Somerset Constabulary. Wiltshire reported the largest drop with a remarkable decrease of 79%, followed by Humberside with a 36% drop in reported thefts. 

However, the overall figures are indicative of vehicle theft continuing to be a rising problem, with thieves using ever more complex methods to steal vehicles.