Cycle crime – more than just the theft of pedal cycles

The fourth annual Cycle Crime Conference, hosted by BikeRegister, the national cycle database, in association with British Transport Police (BTP), took place in Birmingham recently.

Following on from last year’s event, officers from 37 police forces registered for this one-day cycle crime conference, along with key partners from the cycling, retail and security industries.

The theme for this year’s conference was ‘More Than Just The Theft of Pedal Cycles’ with speakers highlighting innovative partnership working to tackle bike crime across the UK, as well as the numerous cycle crime reduction and bike marking initiatives being undertaken nationally.

Around 150 delegates got the chance to hear about successful operations to reduce cycle theft and share best practice on cycle crime solutions.

Andy Gregory, former police sergeant from West Midlands Police chaired the event, which also featured the 2018 Cycle Crime Awards ceremony (winners listed below).

There were presentations from a number of guest speakers including Supt Mark Cleland, the new national bike crime lead at British Transport Police, who delivered a novel twist to the inspirational ‘Starfish’ story by saying ‘everyone can make a difference’ in the fight against bike crime.

Crimestoppers’ Emily Van Der Lely spoke of the importance of its work to prevent crime involving young people, and about the collaboration they have with Road Safety Partnership Gloucestershire which involves bike marking. A joint video on ‘How To Mark Your Bike’ featuring national mountain bike champion Cara Murray was produced to promote the use of BikeRegister.

PC Daniel Holdsworth from Merseyside Police highlighted the good work being done by his team to send unclaimed bikes from police stores to hurricane victims in the Caribbean; and renowned criminologist Martin Gill, gave a fascinating insight into the criminal mind.

PC Pete Ormond and PC Sean Murphy from West Midlands Police gave delegates an update on the successful Operation Magpie (established in 2012), which is reuniting stolen bikes with their owners on an almost weekly basis and marking any unmarked bikes with BikeRegister. PC Ormond explained that the operation’s success depends on working with organisations such as Safer Travel, local universities and schools, second-hand bike shops and even food delivery service Deliveroo.

Sgt Matt Coe of the Met Police spoke of the cycle crime reduction initiatives that are trapping bike thieves in London; while PCSOs Karen Roberts and Lynn Peck of MPS Tower Hamlets were proud to announce that they had recovered more than 200 stolen bikes. The dedicated duo checks each of the bikes on BikeRegister to verify ownership, and reunite many of the bikes with their real owners.

Catching organised crime groups with the help of BikeRegister, and using community impact statements (which allow a community to say how a crime has affected them when the case goes to court) was highlighted by Sgt Nigel Ashworth of BTP.

Brown concluded: “This year’s conference explored the theme of partnership working to tackle bike crime and highlighted the excellent work being done by so many of our delegates. BikeRegister will continue to engage with our valued partners from law enforcement, insurers and retailers and will shortly be announcing an exciting new partnership. We are thrilled with the success of our fourth Cycle Crime Conference and are grateful to the many police forces and industry partners who attended.”

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