Interview With The UK’s National Cycle Crime Lead23 Sep 2018
We interviewed Superintendent Mark Cleland from British Transport Police. As the new UK lead for tackling cycle crime, Supt Cleland has plenty to say on the subject of bike crime...
What does your role as cycle crime lead involve? Why is it important?
I found that to really impact on the causes of cycle crime I was unable to do that effectively within my own organisation, so I looked wider into the cycling world at what else could be done and realised that if I wanted to change the world and make cycle ownership and use safer I needed to pull people together from all different organisations across the UK so we were more coordinated with a common aim. That meant I had to step outside my own policing world and create a movement of passionate like-minded, can-do people. That’s what we’ve created. It’s important because cycling is just one area where there are huge health benefits either through exercise or reducing the use of polluting vehicles. If crime is a blocker to those benefits, then we need to do something about it.
What is the new Cycle Crime Task Force?
It’s more of a ‘movement’ than a task force. A group of go-getters who want to make cycling safer for everyone by using their knowledge, expertise, passion and creativity to problem solve those areas that create cycle crime opportunities. In amongst that is proactive targeting of cycle crime hotspots, prevention, education and designing out crime.
What is the objective of the new Cycle Crime Task Force?
To contribute to the National Walking and Cycling strategies, to encourage cycling ownership by removing the blockers that prevent people doing it such as crime and safety.
Why is it important that there is a collaborative partnership approach to cycle crime?
I can do so much with my police knowledge, but I need experts in other fields such as design, retailers, manufacturers, technology and security. If you bring all that knowledge and experience together we can problem solve anything. Every problem is solvable, it just needs the will, drive and determination to get things done.
If you had a magic wand, what three things would you make happen?
Have every cycle in the world registered with a passport for identification of all component parts, create a national infrastructure of safe cycle routes separate from road traffic, bring back Mr Benn (will only make sense to anyone over the age of 45!).
Can you explain how cycle crime goes deeper than just pedal cycle theft?
Cycle crime is an opportunist crime so those that commit these crimes are into other types of criminality too whether its other thefts, handling stolen property, drugs, anti social behaviour. This is volume crime that doesn’t just impact on one person, but countless people, bringing with it the fear of crime and how we live our everyday lives and our way of life, our health, our wellbeing and our productivity.
Do you have NPCC support to reduce cycle theft nationally?
Absolutely. DCC Amanda Blakeman of West Mercia Police holds the portfolio for Serious Acquisitive Crime and has embraced cycle crime as part of her portfolio.
Anything else you would like to add?
‘Evil endures when good men fail to act’ is a quote from a movie that has stuck with me. We can do nothing and let the world tick by or we can sit up and take notice, do something, take action and be the person that makes the change and maybe changes the world.
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