The fifth annual Cycle Crime Conference saw officers from 28 police forces around the country register for the one-day event, along with partners from the cycling, retail and security industries.
The conference was hosted by BikeRegister, the national cycle database, in association with British Transport Police (BTP) in Birmingham last week.
The theme for this year’s conference was ‘Let’s Pedal Faster’ with speakers outlining ways in which they are pushing the fight against bike crime forward and sharing best practice with around 140 delegates present at the event.
The conference saw presentations from a number of guest speakers including Supt Mark Cleland, the national bike crime lead at BTP, who honed in on the importance of bikes being registered so police can return them to their owners: “BikeRegister is a premier database and all bikes need to be registered to aid recovery of stolen bikes. Point of sale bike marking is the way forward.”
Supt Cleland revealed that 29% of thefts are from residential premises such as garages and sheds.
Another guest speaker, Jon Harris from West Midlands Trains, highlighted a new approach to station travel planning which embraces cycling through encouraging the use of bike marking pop-ups to help reduce crime at stations.
Tom Harris of the Better Bankside BID reminded those present that ‘prevention is better than cure’ and shared how his team has introduced a range of target hardening measures such as funded police officers, community wardens, a secure cycle park and BikeRegister bike marking, to reduce 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, Avon & Somerset Police which is marking 1,000 bikes a month in a new initiative, and Police Scotland which is using preventative and proactive investigative measures through its Operation Screening to tackle cycle crime in Edinburgh.
It was also announced at the conference that BikeRegister’s database now contains nearly 840,000 bike registrations, and the firm has new technology on offer to combat cycle crime such as a new Police App that 23 forces have already adopted. The app 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.
The event also played host to the Cycle Crime Awards, which paid tribute to the hard work carried out by police forces and partners using BikeRegister to fight bike crime.
James Brown, BikeRegister MD, summarised: “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.”