ARE the wheels coming off Britain's stolen vehicle investigations?
Justin Powell, president of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators seems to think so.
At the association's conference in Loughborough he will focus on a worrying knowledge gap and loss of specialist officers.
The association is intent on reversing a recent increase in car crime and mitigating the loss of specialist police Stolen Vehicle Units (SVUs).
Mr Powell said: "Vehicle thefts are already increasing and the inevitable result of cutting more SVUs will be a widening of the gaps in police knowledge and skills. In short, the wheels will come off.
"Whether we are talking about the targeting of modern classics, such as Ford Escorts and Land Rover Defenders, or tech-savvy criminals using electronic compromise to steal cars worth hundreds of thousands of pounds each, it usually involves organised criminal gangs.
"Vehicle crime, as well as being a problem in itself, is also a key enabler of other serious crimes, including terrorism. It is therefore imperative to keep up the pressure on these networks. IAATI promotes joined up thinking, a partnership approach, between law enforcement and the private sector, which is essential in tackling all areas of vehicle crime across the globe."
Subjects at the conference include: the evolution of vehicle crime, the current face of vehicle crime, keyless thefts, smuggling arms and drugs, cash for crash, GPS jammers and stealing cars for export.
It all goes to prove that the more sophisticated and valuable vehicles become the more skilled the criminals get. It has all come a long way from the streetwise yobbo with an elementary knowledge of hot wiring the ignition system.