95% of cars stolen in Kent last year were never found

Male asian thief steals car breaks door lock with mechanical screwdriver tool

According to new data from Kent Police, obtained via a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by specialist motor insurance loss adjuster Claims Management & Adjusting (CMA), part of the QuestGates Group, just 65 of 1,169 cars stolen in the county in 2023 were recovered.

That’s a shockingly low 5.56%, compared to a recovery rate of around 50% recently reported by the immediately neighbouring Metropolitan Police Service in London.

Stolen Vehicle Recovery (Kent, 2023)

Land Rover1633.68%

Philip Swift, a former detective, now Technical Director at CMA, said: “These new figures show that 2,429 vehicles were stolen in Kent in 2023, up again on the previous year. Around half were cars, and the other half were vans, trucks, motorcycles and scooters. In terms of the most stolen models, it was the usual suspects, including Ford Fiesta, Ford Transit and Land Rover Discovery.

“One trend which deserves far more attention is the plummeting recovery rate – down from 80% nationwide in 2006 to just over 5% in Kent today. That’s atrocious, seemingly ten times worse than the Met. It is across the board, affecting all makes and models, and it plays a significant role in increasing insurance premiums.

“If 95% of stolen vehicles are never seen again, you do the math. 150 Land Rover Evoques at £40k each is £6m in lost assets. 200 Ford Fiestas at £15k each is another £3m. The cost to insurers quickly adds up and at some point that has to be passed on to the consumer.

“From an insurance perspective, the lack of detail in the data is also hugely frustrating. For example, we cannot tell the condition of recovered vehicles – whether they were intact and returned to their owners, or crashed, burnt-out or stripped for parts – or whether there was any suspicion of fraud.

“We have been calling for more concerted action from all interested parties for a while now because keyless thefts by arch villains is not always a convincing explanation.”

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