OPINION - Car theft is terrible for Britain — and we're determined to do something about it


Greater Londoners suffered from 18,624 vehicle thefts last year. That’s a third of the national total — 64,087 — according to the DVLA, which is a five per cent increase on the previous 12 months.

Vehicle theft is big business. This is not about opportunism. It’s driven by well-funded, internationally networked, organised criminal groups.

The impact of car theft reaches far beyond the individual victim. Every motorist suffers indirectly. The Association of British Insurers says pay-outs amounted to £699 million in 2023. This leads to increased premiums for everyone. Some analysts suggest prices went up by 58 per cent on average last year for all drivers.

Like many other brands, Range Rover vehicles have been targeted. It’s something we take seriously, and over the last year we have acted directly and indirectly to protect our clients and support the authorities.

Having your car stolen can leave you feeling vulnerable, victimised or isolated

Having your car stolen can leave you feeling vulnerable, victimised or isolated. I understand that, so I feel a duty of care to the people driving our vehicles — whether new or older.

Despite what you might read, or hear, Range Rover is not the most stolen vehicle in the UK. Far from it. The Police National Computer database has only registered 0.2 per cent of current generation Range Rover and Range Rover Sports have been stolen.

Vehicles here are stolen to order, hidden in crates and shipped. Tilbury is London’s main port — the third largest in the country, with an annual throughput of 16 million tonnes. Remember, Greater London is the UK’s vehicle theft hotspot.

Theft goes beyond the security of one vehicle. This week, we announced our investment of more than £1 million in support of proactive policing to tackle the issue at source. This will target the perpetrators — from training 650 police officers in the latest technique to increasing the resource of specialists at UK ports and partnering with police forces in known hotspots.

Specialist officers will now also have more capacity to investigate these crimes. Pilot operations with two forces have already resulted in increased stolen vehicle recoveries and arrests.

We are also working to prevent the crime, with vehicle security systems that are developed based on shared intelligence with police.

Vehicle theft affects us all, directly or indirectly. Jaguar Land Rover will continue to invest in ways to reduce its scale and its impact. Because that’s the right thing to do.

Patrick McGillycuddy is managing director of JLR (UK)