Pickpocketing and theft
We direct a lot of our resources towards combating pickpocketing
and theft, including deploying specialist covert officers and
raising awareness with crime prevention campaigns.
We are pro-actively looking to reduce the number of
pickpocketing and theft incidents through promotional campaigns,
education and policing initiatives to target offenders.
Our analysis suggests that the most common type of theft is
pickpocketing, followed by theft through victims leaving items
unattended or unwatched. Mobile
phone theft makes up 24% of all property stolen,
theft making up 10%. Help keep your valuables safe by
following our advice on looking after your
How we combat pickpocketing
- High visibility policing in vulnerable areas
- Deploying specialist covert pickpocket officers widely, so
their skills can benefit as many passengers as possible
- We launched Operation Magnum as a
long-term initiative that aims to disrupt and deter thieves who
target unsuspecting commuters and tourists, while also educating
members of the public about how they can best look after their
property on trains and at stations.
- You may have seen our posters around rail and Underground
- We work closely with station operators to collect
intelligence and deter pickpockets
- Targeting known repeat offenders
- Enforcing bail conditions to keep pickpockets away from the
- Using CCTV to deter and catch pickpockets
Thieves use a variety of tactics and distractions to relieve you of
your personal items - learn
more about them so you don't become a victim of crime.
Protect yourself from thieves intent on stealing your phone,
tablet or other gadgets by
learning their tactics. You can watch some examples in the
Pickpockets’ top tactics
Familiarise yourself with pickpockets'
tactics and avoid becoming a victim.
- Single “dip” into a bag, operating under cover of a jacket,
newspaper or bag
- A group surround and jostle the target
- Distraction – spill a drink, apologise and then steal the
- Bag slasher – teams of two to four surround the target and
cut the strap of the bag or slit the bag itself.
How to beat pickpockets
See our advice pages for our tips on
how best to look after yourself and your property or watch our campaign