July 27 2012.

Around 26,000 motorcycles are stolen in the UK each year. Recognising the effect that theft has on the motorcycle community and industry, the Motorcycle Industry Association, has launched the first ever official and national security marking scheme, which will be introduced by major bike manufacturers.

The MASTER Security Scheme specification, developed in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police force, is supported by the Home Office and ACPO. It uses technology from Datatag, the country's foremost supplier of security marking technology.

Six major manufacturers have immediately agreed to implement the MASTER scheme, which stands for Motorcycle and Scooter Tagged Equipment Register and it is anticipated more will follow.

Why is it necessary?

* Motorcycle theft is a huge problem and increasing. Of the 26,000 machines stolen each year in the UK (based on 2009 figures), the majority are less than 3 years old.*

* 50 % of these are stolen from Greater London, with 35 machines taken from its streets each day, which means more vehicles were stolen daily than are currently sold new.*

* Recovery rates are as low as 18 % for superbikes.*

* Many motorcycles are broken up into parts within hours of being stolen and reassembled onto legal frames, which have log books.*

* The majority of these 'clones' find their way into the legitimate dealer network, as it is currently nearly impossible for dealers or the police to identify stolen parts.*

* 43% of all insurance total loss pay outs are due to theft (according to MCIA research).

* 40 % of those who receive insurance pay outs DO NOT buy another motorcycle and therefore around 10,000 people leave motorcycling each year.*

* For those innocent people who unwittingly buy stolen vehicles and have their bikes seized by the police, 90 % do not continue with motorcycling.*

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

To see how motorcycle thieves operate - see this short film:  

So how will motorcycles be protected under the MASTER Security Scheme?

Datatag will supply both the component marking elements of the scheme, the registration infrastructure and call centre operation. 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 MASTER Security scheme will use 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, will offer 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.

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

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.

The cost of a bike registered with the MASTER Security Scheme will be absorbed by the manufacturer, with no extra cost to the consumer.

The launch took place this week at New Scotland Yard with the Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Craig Mackey and Lord Henley, the Crime Prevention Minister.

Steve Kenward, CEO of the MCI said: 'Theft is and has been a great concern for the industry and we need to do all we can to help combat it. Security marking of bikes has been proven to be effective in both reducing theft and aiding recovery, and we are confident that by launching this scheme we not only promote standardisation across the industry, but also start a long term reduction in motorcycle crime as the parc of motorcycles marked by the MASTER Security Scheme grows over the coming years.' He went on to say: 'As modern machines become more valuable, their appeal to criminals increases. We all, therefore, need to do more to ensure we don't fall victim as an industry or individual.'

Lord Henley, Home Office Minister for Crime Prevention and Anti-Social Behaviour Reduction, said: "I would like to thank the Motorcycle Industry Association and the police for working together to develop this innovative marking scheme, which I hope will play an important role in preventing and reducing motorcycle theft.'

Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service Craig Mackey QPM said: 'The Master Security Scheme is an excellent example of how the police working with the industry and the motorcycling community can help to reduce crime. Manufacturers who protect their bikes with this security marking will be protecting their riders and in turn making it harder for the criminals to operate in this sector. The Metropolitan Police Service is very proud of being engaged in this partnership and is determined to drive down motorcycle crime.'

The scheme will only be available to participating manufacturer members of the MCIA so that they can offer new motorcycles and scooters, marked, tagged, registered and recorded by the MASTER Security Scheme providing peace of mind for customers.

Early adopting members of the scheme are Honda, Triumph, Suzuki, Kawasaki, BMW and Yamaha, all of whom will introduce the MASTER Security Scheme progressively to their ranges over the coming months.