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Sunday, 17 March, 2002, 05:54 GMT
Car-jacking law change urged
Rolls Royce
Modern luxury cars are a prime target for car-jackers
A motoring organisation is demanding tougher sentences for "car-jackers" by making the offence a separate crime from robbery.

The RAC Foundation says that while robbery is a serious offence, it does not fully take into account the violence involved in car-jacking attacks.


These callous criminals see the driver as the weakest link in the security chain

Tom Watson MP
A recent spate of highly publicised violent car snatches includes the fatal stabbing of 25-year-old Timothy Robinson outside his London home in January.

The case prompted Home Secretary David Blunkett to warn that perpetrators would be dealt with very harshly.

Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation, said: "With car-jacking on the increase throughout the country, the violent thugs who carry out this crime should be given harsher penal sentences.

Tim Robinson
Stabbed: Timothy Robinson
"Establishing car-jacking as a specific criminal offence would make this easier, and enable the police to obtain accurate records of the number of attacks that are taking place nationally.

"The home secretary has suggested that thieves who target innocent motorists in carjacking attacks will be sent down for a very long time.

"We hope that the government takes the suggestion of making car-jacking a specific offence seriously."

'Dangerous'

The RAC Foundation said car-jacking had been made a specific offence in South Africa where it has been prevalent since the mid-1970s.

It said police there believed the greater use of targeting had reduced the number of crimes from 12,000 to 11,000 a year.

The RAC has been backed by Tom Watson, Labour MP for West Bromwich East.

He said: "I will be urging the government to establish a specific criminal offence of car-jacking with a harsh jail sentence.

"We need to send out the message to these dangerous and violent criminals that they will not get away with it.

"These callous criminals see the driver as the weakest link in the security chain, and I want to see them behind bars."

In February, Mr Blunkett said: "We have got to send a very clear message and the message is - get involved in this and you will go down for a very long time."

See also:

18 Feb 02 | England
Carjack gang 'terrify' lone woman
11 Feb 02 | England
Children's car-jacking terror
04 Feb 02 | England
Blunkett's warning to car-jackers
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