The Metropolitan Police is teaming up with bike shops across the capital in the run-up to Christmas to give cyclists the chance to have their bikes marked and registered for free, as well as giving advice in how to lock bikes securely to help thwart would-be thieves.
The initiative is being organised by the Metropolitan Police’s Safer Transport Teams, which operate across all 32 London Boroughs, as well as the Cycle Task Force, with officers using BikeRegister, which the force has selected as its preferred cycle register, to record details of bikes.
In the past six months, Met officers have marked 23,000 bikes in London and registered their details on BikeRegister, which helps both police and retailers identify the legitimate owner of bicycles that have been stolen or sold on.
Cycle Task Force Chief Inspector Ian Vincent commented: “We want Londoners to enjoy cycling this Christmas so if you are out buying a bike this month, come and get it security marked and registered for free.
"We advise any cyclist to follow 'the three R's' - Record the details of their bike, Register them onto online property databases like www.bikeregister.com and Report any theft to the police. These are simple steps that all cyclists should take so that if their bike is stolen they stand a good chance of being reunited with it."
According to the forces Safer Transport Command and Transport for London (TfL), reported cycle theft in the city has fallen by 5.4 per cent since its peak in 2009/10, thanks in part to the establishment of the 30-strong Cycle Task Force.
As part of its strategy of combating the thieves, the latter has focused on trying to disrupt trade in stolen bikes and parts, as well as partnering with second-hand goods websites and running covert operations. Uniformed patrols have also been stepped up in bike crime hotspots to provide a visible deterrent.
Andrew Knights, Managing Director of Selectamark, the owner of BikeRegister, said: that the business was “delighted” to be able to support the Cycle Task Force in its attempt to reduce theft.
“We have seen a notable increase in the identification of stolen bikes since the initiative started, and in the run up to Christmas, BikeRegister will be an invaluable aid to officers on the streets helping them take immediate action against suspected bike thieves."
Among the retailers taking part in the initiative are Action Bikes, Cycle Power, Cycle Surgery, Cyclopedia, Decathlon, Fudges, Halfords, Moores Cycles, Pearsons Cycles, Putney Cycles and Wallington Cycles.
Mike Hedgecox, People and Stores Director at London’s biggest bicycle retailer, Evans Cycles, said: "Evans Cycles are proud to support cycle security awareness initiatives such as the Cycle Task Force’s bike registering campaign. As experts in cycling, we know how looking after your bike can make a big difference to help combat theft."
Details of bike marking sessions to be held throughout December can be found on the Metropolitan Police website.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.