Crackdown on London's Cycle Crime

New squad will target theft and vandalism

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A new, 30-strong Police Cycle Task Force hit the streets of London today, as London's police forces, the Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) published a draft plan for tackling cycle theft and vandalism in the Capital.

The Cycle Task Force forms part of the Metropolitan Police Service's Safer Transport Command team and is funded by TfL. They will patrol London's streets by bike, investigating and tackling cycle theft and criminal damage to bicycles. Alongside local Safer Transport Teams, the new team will also run sessions on bike marking and registration and give London's cyclists advice on how to lock up their bikes securely in order to deter theft.

The new policing team will support a draft Cycle Security Plan that details how increased police action will target cycle theft and vandalism, as well as:

*Tackling organised cycle theft through proactive investigations and operations;
*Disrupting the trade of stolen second-hand bikes and bicycle parts through working with online websites such as eBay, and running undercover operations and high visibility patrols in hot spot areas;
*Targeting bike theft and the handling of stolen bicycles through covert investigation;
*Working with cycle user groups and local authorities to participate in a range of London cycle events and initiatives to promote cycle security and reduce cycle theft;
*Providing 66,000 additional cycle parking spaces across the Capital by 2012 as well as introducing measures such as CCTV and better lighting at cycle parking locations, which can help prevent theft and deter criminal behaviour.

TfL is also working with manufacturers, retailers and other partners to introduce a code of practice to encourage second hand cycle retailers and internet vendors to follow new guidelines before selling a second hand bicycle. Plans to establish one single database to record details of all marked bikes in London are underway and this will help police and retailers identify and verify the legitimate owner of bikes that have been stolen or are being resold.

Commander Mark Gore, Safer Transport Command, said: "The Safer Transport Command and TfL are working together to create an environment where all cyclists and potential cyclists feel safe and secure. With the introduction of our dedicated Cycle Task Force, we will robustly tackle cycle theft, and improve cycle security across the Capital."

Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor of London's Transport Advisor, said: "The Mayor's vision is for a cycling revolution in the Capital and key to that is the need for greater cycle security. With ever greater numbers of Londoners taking to two wheels we need to make sure when they park up their beloved bicycle they can do so in confidence it will be there when they return.

"We want this new cycle squad and the actions set out in our plan to reassure everyone who cycles in the Capital of our focus on making London as safe and secure as possible, and the best big cycling city in the world."

Steve Burton, TfL's Director of Community Safety, Enforcement and Policing, said: "London's a great place to get around on a bike, but the experience of having your bicycle stolen or damaged, or the fear that it will happen, stops many people from cycling - which makes us even more determined to crack down on cycle theft in the Capital.

"The new Cycle Task Force policing team will be dedicated to cracking down on bike thieves but will also work with Londoners to show them the steps they can take, such as ensuring they lock their bicycles securely, to help prevent themselves from becoming victims of theft or vandalism."


June 7, 2010