Victimisation and fear of crime in the gig economy

Victimisation and fear of crime in the gig economy

Related Themes: Roads policing, Robbery

The growth of the food delivery gig economy in London has seen a parallel growth in vehicle thefts and other crime and intimidation. While there is a growing body of research on the gig economy, very little of it takes a criminological look at the gig economy, focusing on victimisation, fear of crime and the response of policing and other public bodies. These issues, and wider problems raised by protests and media reports, point towards a number of key themes that formed the focus of this research project, taking food delivery moped riders working in the gig economy as its focus:

  • The nature of the gig economy and its relationship to victimisation and fear of crime, including lone and late-night working without a return to base, the need for the worker to provide their own equipment, and considerations about where and when to work, balancing potential profits and other factors.
  • The changing nature of crime in London, in particular the growth of moped-enabled offending.
  • The policing response to moped-enabled crime and the victimisation of food delivery moped riders working in the gig economy.

The research included:

  • Interviews with food delivery moped riders in the gig economy, working with assistance of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB).
  • An examination of police data and interviews with police officers from local and specialist teams.
  • An interviews with food delivery platforms.
  • A review of relevant academic publications, grey literature and media reports.

Our aims:

  • Develop new data and evidence-based recommendations that will help food delivery moped riders advocate for improved working conditions.
  • Put new evidence in front of policy makers which we hope will lead to greater protection for workers in this sector.
  • Affect the policies and practices of the Metropolitan Police Service – and other police forces – so they can better serve this group of victims, and potential victims.
  • Influence the practices of the large commercial operators in this sector so that they can provide safer conditions for workers.
  • Contribute to the growing body of academic research about the gig economy with a particularly criminological focus.