In a rather unnerving move, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness is calling on the Government to “urgently introduce” a law that would make the installation of tracking devices mandatory for all motorcycles.  She believes that the trackers must be fitted to motorcycles so “their whereabouts and speed can be monitored.”

Understanding the Commissioner’s recommendation

On the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner’s website, Ms. McGuinness is quoted as saying:

“There have been some positive results lately but I want us to be able to do more. We need to think differently if we are going to put a stop to the problem once and for all and this is where trackers could come in. Our police are confident they could make a real difference.”

“It’s important for me to be clear.  I don’t mean our law-abiding bikers here – I’m talking about trouble-makers, often young people riding un-roadworthy bikes, which in some cases have been stolen.  It’s their own safety that is at risk here too – worryingly there’s a real lack of awareness of the consequences. A tough approach needs to be taken and I fully back our force with this, especially when engagement and education isn’t getting through to those responsible.”

However, according to Police Professional:

Northumbria’s police and crime commissioner wants ‘trackers’ to be fitted to all (emphasis added) motorcycles to help tackle the problem of bike-related anti-social behaviour.

Kim McGuinness is calling on Government to “urgently introduce” new bike laws that would make their use compulsory and act as a “real deterrent” to reckless riders.

And, it seems that the Northumbria Police & Crime Commissioner’s website says that trackers should be attached to all motorcycles.

Northumbria

A screengrab from the Northumbria Police & Crime Commissioner’s website.  Note that it says “tracker devices to be fitted to all motorbikes.”

Position still unclear

So it’s still unclear what the Commissioner’s point of view is.   We don’t know whether she wants the trackers attached to all motorcycles or merely those adjudicated as having committed an offense.  That’s unfortunate since the requirement to attach a tracker to all motorcycles has far-reaching consequences.

It’s not difficult to see the privacy issues this measure would have in the US.  However, it appears that in the UK, this type of legislation may not run afoul of individual freedom protections.  And if that’s the case, the Commissioner’s recommendation may be well within the bounds of UK law.

Reaching out to the Commissioner

To better understand the Commissioner’s recommendation, we’ve reached out to the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner for answers to the following questions:

  1. Must ALL motorcycles be fitted with the tracking device?  Please provide a yes or no answer at a minimum, please.
  2. When should the trackers be fitted; at the time of purchase or sometime after?
  3. Who pays for the cost of the tracking devices and their installation?
  4. When and how will the motorbikes be tracked?
  5. Who will provide law enforcement if a violation is deemed to have occurred?
  6. Who (which agency) will be responsible for the maintenance and security of the tracking data?
  7. What will be done with the tracking data?  Will it become available to the public?
  8. If the tracker is required for all motorbikes, what is the penalty(ies) for a person who does not install, removes, or tampers with the tracker?

We’ll let you know if we receive an answer to our inquiry.  Until then, it’s clear that riders in Northumbria should keep an eye on this bit of potential legislation.

 

All image credit: Northumbria Police & Crime Commissioner

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