A POLICE initiative aims to drive down vehicle theft by equipping owners which the skills, knowledge and equipment to keep their vehicles safe.

Secured by Design (SBD) is the official police security initiative that works to improve vehicle security.

SBD’s product based accreditation scheme – the Police Preferred Specification - provides a recognised standard for all security products that can deter and reduce crime.

And I you are concerned about the security of your vehicle, Essex Police’s PC Phil Pentelow says there are simple steps owners can take.

“Learn about your car’s vulnerabilities. There are videos online where you can find this information out,” he said.

“Look on the website Secured by Design to find recommended safety devices for your car and consider investing in a Disklok for your steering wheel at the very least.

“However, the biggest vulnerability is leaving your car unlocked. Double lock your car and check it. We see CCTV of thefts where thieves try the car door and it’s unlocked.”

Other top tips to keeps cars safe includes not leaving valuables, such as mobile phones, wallets, sunglasses or handbags, on show.

Doors and windows should always remain closed and locked, while owners should keep keys and ignition fobs safe and out of sight and reach.

Concerned owners can also install a GPS tracker to help recover a car if it is stolen.

While drivers are also urged to use physical security products such as a steering wheel lock or a lock that fits over the gear lever.

Owners should also fit theft-resistant number plate fittings. As stolen number plates are commonly used to hide the identity of stolen vehicles.