Police officers have finally been given the green light to fight back against moped criminals as Scotland Yard says they will ram suspects off their bikes even if they are not wearing helmets.

Moped and motorcycle criminals will be targeted "at every opportunity", even when they ride dangerously, discard their helmets and disguise themselves, the head of the Met's Operation Venice Team has said.

Confusion over the existing rules meant many officers were reluctant to give chase to criminals, fearing that they will be hauled over the coals if the rider is injured or killed, reports Daily Telegraph.

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It saw moped gangs, who have been responsible for a recent wave in street violence and robberies, emboldened, believing they can make an easy getaway by simply removing their helmets.

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But earlier this year the Home Office has said it wanted to "smash the myth" and give police officers the confidence to give chase knowing they will not be held responsible for the actions of the criminal.

Mohammad Khaleghi was sprayed with DNA spray. Photo / Metropolitan Police
Mohammad Khaleghi was sprayed with DNA spray. Photo / Metropolitan Police

Footage released on Friday by the Met show the tactics that specially trained drivers are now able to use to reduce the need for pursuits and prevent injury occurring to offenders and members of the public. The video includes examples of police ramming moped riders off their bikes, including one scenario where a rider is not wearing a helmet.

It is hoped that by demonstrating the full range of tactics that officers are prepared to use against moped and motorcycle criminals, potential offenders will think twice about their actions, Scotland Yard said.

Commander Amanda Pearson of Frontline Policing, said: "There is a perception that if you remove your helmet or fail to stop for police when requested to do so we will not take any further course of action. This is untrue.

"The public quite rightly expects us to intervene to keep London safe. Our highly trained police drivers weigh up the risks and decide upon the most appropriate tactics in those circumstances.

"Offenders on mopeds and motorcycles who attempt to evade the police are making a choice that puts themselves and others at risk.

"So our message is clear - we can, we will and we do target those involved in moped and motorcycle crime at every opportunity."

Police use a range of tactics across London to tackle offenders. This includes DNA forensic tagging and the use of automatic tyre deflation devices.

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A moped which has been stopped by a police vehicle following a pursuit. Photo / Metropolitan Police
A moped which has been stopped by a police vehicle following a pursuit. Photo / Metropolitan Police

Despite the epidemic of motorcycle crime - which came to a head last summer - health and safety concerns among many pursuit drivers led to a fear that they could face prosecution or lengthy internal disciplinary investigations if there was an accident.

Last year the Police Federation - which represents rank and file officers - wrote to its members warning warning them not to pursue criminals in high speed chases because they could not rely on the law to protect them.

The new measures aims to further curb the trend of gangs using mopeds to steal up to 30 mobile phones an hour, targeting victims as they come out of tube stations or other transport hubs.

As a result of intensive proactive policing and engagement, led by the Operation Venice Investigations Team, there have been reductions in moped crime across London.

Latest year-on-year figures for moped crime show that in January 2017 to October 2017 there were 19,455 offences across London compared to January 2018 to October 2018 when there were 12,419 offences (7,036 fewer offences) - a reduction of 44 per cent.

Latest year-on-year figures for theft of mopeds show that in January 2017 to October 2017 there were 12,192 offences across London compared to January 2018 to October 2018 when there were 8,261 offences (3,931 fewer offences) - a reduction of 38 per cent.