North East police forces report big rise in vehicle vandalism

Vehicle vandalism in England and Wales has jumped by 10% in three years, police data shows.
Vehicle vandalism in England and Wales has jumped by 10% in three years, police data shows.

Vehicle vandalism in England and Wales has jumped by 10% in three years, police data shows.

Some 210,000 vehicles suffered criminal damage such as smashed windows, slashed tyres and broken windscreen wipers in 2016.

That compared with 191,000 in 2013, according to data obtained by RAC Insurance.

The actual figures are believed to be considerably higher, as many motorists do not report incidents as they fear it would cause their next insurance premiums to soar.

Drivers have suffered the largest spike in vandalism in Greater Manchester, with the area's police force recording a 37% rise.

Hertfordshire Constabulary and West Yorkshire Police had the joint-second-largest increase at 25%.

Northumbria Police is fourth-highest, and the figures for the Durham Constabulary area are also above average.

Twenty-four of the 37 forces to respond to Freedom of Information requests with comparable data saw an increase in vandalism from 2013 to 2016.

:: These forces saw the highest increases in reported vandalism of vehicles between 2013 and 2016, according to RAC Insurance (rise in brackets):

1. Greater Manchester Police (37%)

=2. Hertfordshire Constabulary (25%)

=2. West Yorkshire Police (25%)

4. Northumbria Police (22%)

=5. Cambridgeshire Constabulary (19%)

=5. South Yorkshire Police (19%)

7. Dyfed-Powys Police (15%)

8. Bedfordshire Constabulary (13%)

9. Staffordshire Police (12%)

=10. Kent Police (11%)

=10. Durham Constabulary (11%)

RAC Insurance director Mark Godfrey says it is one of the most frustrating crimes because of the disruption caused by a moment of "selfish intentional criminal damage".

He said: "Not only do many motorists who experience this have to go through the insurance claims process and the time consuming and inconvenient experience of getting the vehicle repaired, they will also suffer an inevitable premium rise and then have to declare the claim for three years whenever they apply for a new policy.

"In terms of motorists protecting their vehicles against vandalism there is unfortunately very little they can do to avoid a very deliberate action, mindless stupidity or drunkenness."