Motorists whose vehicles are stolen now stand a greater chance of getting them back following the installation of updated technology to Police Scotland’s helicopter and road policing units.
The high-tech equipment, supplied by ‘Tracker’, detects signals given out by stolen vehicles fitted with the company’s device, typically placed in a hidden location.
So far this year, five stolen vehicles have been recovered by officers using the equipment in the helicopter alone, and there is now an increased chance of stolen vehicles being detected and recovered with the enhanced equipment also fitted to road vehicles.
Inspector Darren Faulds said: “Once someone discovers their vehicle is missing and informs the company, the device is switched on and begins emitting a signal.
“The advantage of the helicopter is that being at height, it can see this signal over a much wider area than units fitted in cars where the range can be restricted due to nearby buildings if it is in an urban environment.
“If the helicopter picks up the signal it can follow the stolen vehicle without the thieves being aware, and also direct other units such as motorcycles or dog units to the exact location, so ground-based officers can stop the vehicle, apprehend the driver and any passengers, and recover it back to the owner.
“We have been using this type of equipment for many years and this upgrade means it remains a powerful tool in the fight against vehicle crime.”
Andy Barrs, Head of Police Liaison at Tracker said: “We have been installing our unique VHF tracking technology in all UK police forces for the past 25 years and we are tremendously proud of our partnership with Police Scotland.
“With car thieves now using increasingly more sophisticated electronic methods such as ‘relay attack’ to steal vehicles, it is important that owners use tracking technology to increase the chances of recovery of their vehicle, if it is stolen.
“We know that Edinburgh and Glasgow usually record the most stolen and recovered vehicles, however our figures show that thieves don’t just target cities and they don’t always go for the expensive brands.
“Northern cities, such as Aberdeen and Inverness, experience a high number of vehicle thefts and rural crime hot spots often spike along the Scottish Borders and Perth & Kinross. A very high number of thefts are also seen in Lanarkshire.”