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The fourth annual Cycle Crime Conference, hosted by BikeRegister, the national cycle database, in association with British Transport Police (BTP, pictured), ran in Birmingham on Tuesday, June 26. Police officers from some 37 forces registered for the day, besides partners from the cycling, retail and security sectors.
The theme for 2018 was ‘More Than Just The Theft of Pedal Cycles’; speakers highlighted partnership working to tackle bike crime across the UK, plus numerous cycle crime reduction and bike marking initiatives. Around 150 delegates heard about operations to reduce cycle theft, and shared best practice on cycle crime solving.
Andy Gregory, former West Midlands Police sergeant chaired the event, which also featured an awards ceremony. Speakers included Sgt 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.
From the 0800 anonymous crime reporting line Crimestoppers, Emily Van Der Lely spoke of the importance of their work to prevent crime involving young people, and about their work 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 work by his team to send unclaimed bikes from police stores to hurricane victims in the Caribbean; and the criminologist Prof Martin Gill gave an insight into the criminal mind.
PC Pete Ormond and PC Sean Murphy from West Midlands Police gave an update on 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 Met Police in Tower Hamlets were proud to announce that they had recovered more than 200 stolen bikes. The duo check 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 described by Sgt Nigel Ashworth of BTP.
Nick Roach, Police Liaison Officer for SelectaDNA, talked about the new SelectaDNA Tagging and Defence Sprays being used by the Met and other forces to tackle the serious problem of moped-enabled crime. Offences including mobile phone snatches are also carried out on bikes. The DNA spray product, with other tactics, has helped the Met reduce moped-enabled crime in London by 38.5 per cent (for February to May 2018).
James Brown, BikeRegister MD, closed the day with an update on the latest from BikeRegister, which included the fact that the database recently hit the 750,000 bike registration landmark. He also spoke about new technology being offered by BikeRegister, including details of the Police App that makes the registration of bikes easier and enables recovered and stolen bikes to be checked quicker. James also presented the 2018 Cycle Crime Awards. The winners were:
• West Midlands Police for Operation Magpie, a sustained cycle crime initiative using BikeRegister
• British Transport Police for their commitment to cycle crime through the Lock It, Mark It communications campaign
• Met Police in Tower Hamlets for the most recoveries of stolen bikes using BikeRegister.
• Police Scotland for reducing bike crime through partnership working with the local council, Sustrans and second-hand bike shops in Edinburgh.
James added: “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.”