The third annual Cycle Crime Conference – hosted by BikeRegister (the national cycle database) in association with the British Transport Police (BTP) – took place in Birmingham on Tuesday 5 July. Following on from last year’s hugely successful event, officers from 28 police forces attended this one-day cycle crime conference, along with key partners from the cycling, education and security industries.
The theme for this year’s conference was ‘Bike Crime: Breaking The Cycle’, with speakers highlighting the numerous initiatives being undertaken nationally to tackle bike crime. Around 150 delegates heard 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 featured the 2017 Cycle Crime Awards Ceremony (more which in due course) and the results of the 2017 National Cycle Crime Survey. There were also presentations from a number of expert guest speakers including Detective Chief Inspector Darren Malpas from the BTP, whose overview on cycle crime opened the conference.
Sarah Burr from Transport for London spoke about the impact of cycle crime in London, while Fergus Campbell of Gumtree explained what steps the auction site is taking to tighten the net on bike thieves.
Belinda Hopkins from the University of Oxford had ideas to counter university bike theft following the successful introduction of a BikeRegister scheme across all Oxford colleges, and Wing Commander Keith Dear gave a fascinating insight into ‘how feeling watched can change the behaviour’ of a bike thief.
BikeRegister Police App
James Brown, the managing director of BikeRegister, informed delegates of a new BikeRegister Police App that’s launching to make stolen bike checks much simpler. Brown explained that BikeRegister is the UK’s national cycle database, with more than 665,000 bikes registered online and over 250,000 searches performed every year.
“We’re thrilled with the success of our third Cycle Crime Conference and are very grateful to the many police forces and industry partners who attended,” enthused Brown. However, he warned that a lack of funding to deal with cycle crime is an issue. “Our concern is that, after the big strides made over the last four years, police forces are taking resources away from tackling cycle crime. As a result, we’re seeing huge spikes in bicycle theft in many areas of the UK, in some jurisdictions by up to 50%. With cycle journeys rapidly increasing, we should be increasing not decreasing our combined efforts.”
In conclusion, Brown stated: “A highlight of the conference was the 2017 Cycle Crime Awards which pay tribute to the great work being done by so many police forces and partners using BikeRegister to fight bike crime.”
Winners of the 2017 Cycle Crime Awards
*Most Stolen Bikes Recovered (using BikeRegister)
Winner: Thames Valley Police
Thames Valley Police arrested a man suspected of handling stolen goods after an enormous haul of 164 bicycles was found in his garden.
*Most Amount of Bikes Marked
Winner: Metropolitan Police Service’s Hillingdon Safer Transport Team
The Hillingdon Safer Transport Team has marked 2,969 cycles with BikeRegister over the period of 2016-2017
*Most Significant Reduction in Cycle Theft
Winner: Lancashire Constabulary
Officers from Lancashire Constabulary achieved a 58% reduction in bike theft through the implementation of Operation Derailleur, a multi-stranded operation designed to prevent and deter the theft of pedal cycles.
*The Partnership Project Award
Winner: Transport for West Midlands, Safer Travel Police Team and London Midland
To combat an upward trend in cycle-related crime at rail stations, Transport for West Midlands and the Safer Travel Partnership working in partnership with rail operator London Midland formulated a series of initiatives to address the situation and ensure new and existing cycle rail commuters would have the confidence to cycle.