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Motorcycle theft is down thanks to MASTER Security Scheme

10th July 2014

Following a meeting of the Motorcycle Crime Reduction Group, which met this week, figures have been released which show a marked reduction in the theft of motorcycles which have been ‘tagged’ under the UK’s first national and official motorcycle anti-theft scheme.

52,687 new motorcycles and scooters have been protected and registered with the MASTER Security Scheme since January 2013, of which only 403 have been stolen.

This represents a theft rate of 0.76%, compared to an historic rate of 2.6% and means MASTER scheme tagged motorcycles are nearly 4 times less likely to be stolen.

Typically around 26,000 motorcycles or scooters were stolen every year, 50% of which are taken within Greater London.  Using the current rates of theft, if all bikes were MASTER tagged this would mean c18,000 less motorcycles would be stolen each year.*

Of the 403 bikes which have been stolen, the current recovery rate (at the time of this week’s meeting) stands at 37%.  In addition, the police are aware of the locations of a number of the remainder of the unrecovered bikes, which will be the subject of police action in the coming weeks.

teve Kenward, CEO of the MCI said “11 major manufacturers have been marking their bikes for over 12 months now, so we are in a position to begin evaluating the effectiveness of the MASTER Security Scheme.  It will take another two years to see the full effects, as motorcycle theft is currently mostly centred on bikes of three years or less, but we are highly encouraged by the results we have seen so far."

*Figure is the difference between 0.76% and 2.6% of the active parc, i.e. the theft rate of MASTER tagged bikes and the historic rate of theft.)

What is the MASTER Security Scheme?

  • It stands for Motorcycle and Scooter Tagged Equipment Register and was launched in 2012. 
  • It was developed by the Motorcycle Industry Association with Home Office backing in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police force in response to the considerable nuisance that motorcycle theft caused to motorcyclists, the police, insurers and the industry.
  • It uses technology from Datatag, the country’s foremost supplier of security marking technology (see below for how this deters thieves).
  • 11 major manufacturers were signed up by the beginning of 2013, including Honda, Ducati, BMW, Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki, KTM, Triumph, Suzuki, Yamaha, Victory and Indian.


Facts about motorcycle theft


  • Many motorcycles are broken up into parts within hours of being stolen and reassembled onto legal frames, which have log books.  This can net thieves thousands of pounds a day.**
  • 80% of these ‘clones’ find their way into the legitimate dealer network, therefore before the MASTER Scheme it was virtually impossible for dealers or the police to identify stolen parts.**
  • For those innocent people who unwittingly buy stolen vehicles and have their bikes seized by the police, 90% do not continue with motorcycling.**
  • 43% of all insurance pay outs are due to theft (according to MCI research).

**(Facts and figures supplied by the Motorcycle Crime Reduction Group).

So how does it work?

The MASTER Security scheme uses a sophisticated array of technology to give each component part a unique fingerprint.  This involves a combination of visible and concealed elements, including hidden data dots, stealth etching and a number of transponders embedded into parts - similar to the technology that allows the chipping of cats and dogs. 

The combination of these hidden elements along with the high visibility and the unique number on each tag, offers both piece of mind to consumers and help the police in recovering stolen motorcycles.  Police have access to Datatag’s register 24 hours a day.

Each tag is displayed in a prominent place on the bike, alerting potential thieves to the fact that it is marked and registered.  If the tag is tampered with - it disintegrates. If the tag is missing from models from participating manufacturers alarm bells will ring for police and subsequent owners.

All motorcycles and scooters from participating manufacturers are registered on Datatag’s national secure database.  This is updated continuously, which means the reporting of stolen vehicles is immediate.

Datatag launched a similar scheme to reduce the theft of construction and farm machinery – the Cesar scheme which has been hugely successful with 100% success rate of prosecution, where machinery had been tagged.

The cost of a bike registered with the MASTER scheme is absorbed by the manufacturer, so there is no extra cost to the consumer.




Editor’s Notes


  • The Motorcycle Crime Reduction Group is a partnership made up of representatives from rider interest groups, the insurance and security industries, motorcycle manufacturers and retailers, and the Police with links to, and contributions from, the Home Office.  It last met on Wednesday July 9th.
  • There are 1.3 million motorcycles registered with the DVLA.  It is broadly agreed that around 1 million are 'active' (ie not historic, in storage etc).
  • The MASTER Security Scheme system has Home Office and ACPO accreditation under the Secured by Design scheme and complies with several other quality accreditations including ISO and LPS (Loss Protection Standards) for their secure database.
  • There are no annual fees when fitting the MASTER Security Scheme.
  • When a MASTER Security Scheme marked motorcycle is ultimately sold on the Scheme registration can be transferred to the new owner. (A small admin fee applies to transfer requests).
  • Information is stored on Datatag's secure database - accessible 24/7 and which is both Home Office and ACPO Police Secure accredited.


Supporting Information: MCI

  • The MCI represents around 90% of the supply side of the motorcycle industry with 120 members.
  • The Motorcycle industry is worth £7.2 billion a year and employs 62,000 people.
  • The MCI has been representing the motorcycling industry for over 100 years.


Contact: Stevie Muir Email: Tel 07989 378597 


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