National Cycle Crime Conference 20192 Jul 2019
The fifth annual Cycle Crime Conference, hosted by BikeRegister, the national cycle database, in association with British Transport Police (BTP), took place in Birmingham on Tuesday, 25th June.
Now a key fixture on the conference calendar, officers from 28 Police Forces registered for this one-day cycle crime event, along with partners from the cycling, retail and security industries.
The theme for this year's conference was ‘Let’s Pedal Faster’ with speakers highlighting ways in which they are pushing the fight against bike crime forward so that it gathers even more momentum.
Around 140 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 2019 Cycle Crime Awards ceremony (winners listed below).
There were presentations from a number of guest speakers including Supt Mark Cleland, the national bike crime lead at British Transport Police, who encouraged everyone to #BeMoreJohnMcClane when tackling cycle crime. This was a reference to Bruce Willis’s famous Die Hard character who wasn’t afraid to take risks and try something new when he failed.
Supt Cleland said bikes need to be registered for police to be able to return them to their owners. “BikeRegister is the premier database and all bikes need to be registered to aid recovery of stolen bikes. Point of Sale bike marking is the way forward,” said Supt Cleland. He also revealed that 29% of bike thefts are from residential premises including garages and sheds.
Dr Kevin Golding Williams from the Department for Transport spoke about the Cycling and Walking Investment strategy and the opportunities and challenges it presents for cycle security.
Jon Harris from West Midlands Trains spoke passionately about a new approach to station travel planning which embraces all aspects of cycling. ‘Stations as Places’ looks at the 'whole' station and its place in the community and how to make it safer for travellers. It is encouraging the use of bike marking pop-ups to help reduce bike crime at stations such as Bromsgrove, which have received major overhauls.
A video interview organised by BikeRegister and BTP, with a convicted bike thief gave insight into the sort of bikes that are sought after by criminals, with the overriding message being that bikes should be locked securely with D locks, otherwise they will become a certain bike theft statistic.
‘Prevention is better than cure’, was the key message from Tom Harris at the Better Bankside BID (Business Improvement District). Tom and his team have introduced a range of target hardening measures including funded police officers, community wardens, a secure cycle park and BikeRegister bike marking to reduce bike theft on Bankside, south east London. He said: "BikeRegister's national database is invaluable to us and has helped us recover many stolen bikes and led to 14 arrests of bike thieves in our area alone."
Other speakers included Julia Watson from West Mercia Constabulary’s Opal unit who represented the National Intelligence team for Serious Organised Acquistive Crime; Avon & Somerset Police who are marking 1,000 bikes a month in an initiative which is co-funded by North Somerset Council. Joe Mansfield, the council's Sustainable Travel Officer encouraged police to contact their local councils to find out what funding is available for bike marking events; and Police Scotland whose Operation Screening has demonstrated what can be achieved with limited Police resources, utilising both preventative and proactive investigative measures to tackle cycle crime in Edinburgh.
James Brown, BikeRegister MD, gave an update on the latest news from BikeRegister, which included the fact that the database now contains nearly 845,000 bike registrations.
He also spoke about new technology being offered by BikeRegister, including details of the Police App that 23 police forces have now adopted, which makes the registration of bikes easier at bike marking events and enables recovered and stolen bikes to be checked by officers on the spot on Police mobile devices.
James also presented the 2019 Cycle Crime Awards, which paid tribute to the hard work carried out by police forces and partners using BikeRegister to fight bike crime.
2019 Cycle Crime Awards winners:
• Lee Honey, Metropolitan Police, for being BikeRegister’s most ‘active’ user. Lee has run 2,525 searches through the BikeRegister database – which is more than double the next officer in the ranking.
• Rob Forder, British Transport Police, for his partnership work within the Community Cycle Team. Rob has helped organise more than 350 bike marking events at train stations, which has resulted in more than 4,700 bikes being added to the BikeRegister database.
• Avon & Somerset Police for how they have expanded cycle crime prevention and for running best practice marking events. Starting as a single unit, they have now rolled out their successful campaign force-wide, making it one of the largest in the country. They have also taken great pride in their appearance at each bike marking event setting up gazebos, mats and banners.
• This year’s BTP award goes to Belinda Hopkins, Crime Prevention & Reduction Adviser, University of Oxford. Belinda has worked tirelessly to tackle bike crime across the University estate and has introduced BikeRegister as the recommended bike marking scheme.
James Brown concluded: “The National Cycle Crime Conference is our way of helping Police from across the UK to speak with each other, which means that they are sharing intelligence, and becoming even more effective at targeting bike thieves, and organised criminal gangs across the UK. Thank you to all who attended, and congratulations to the extremely worthy winners of the Cycle Crime Awards this year.”
Note to editors
More details on the work carried out by the 2019 Cycle Crime Award winners are available.
BikeRegister is the UK’s national cycle database and the leading online bicycle identification and registration initiative aiming to reduce cycle theft, identify stolen bikes and assist in owner recovery. BikeRegister is used by every UK Police Force and is the preferred bike marking system of the Metropolitan Police Service and British Transport Police.
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