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Wednesday's crackdown involved 400 officers across London's 32 boroughs...

A major police operation against bike thieves in London earlier this week has resulted in 45 people being arrested and 14 stolen bicycles recovered.

On Wednesday, more than 400 police officers and police community support officers took part in the operation, co-ordinated by the Metropolitan Police’s Safer Transport Command, and spanning all 32 of the capital’s boroughs.

Plain clothes and uniformed officers patrolled known bike theft hotspots, and officers also visited pawn shops to check whether they were selling on stolen bikes.

In Hillingdon, West London, an 18-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods after he was stopped while riding a bike and wheeling a second one alongside him.

Police say that checks revealed that the saddle and wheel of one of the bikes came from one stolen in West Drayton the previous day.

Chief Superintendent Sultan Taylor from the Metropolitan Police’s Safer Transport Command said: "Bike theft has a huge impact on Londoners, costing over £10m per year and yesterday's activity has seen some excellent results helping to crackdown on cycle theft even further.

“We continue to work with TfL and other police agencies to ensure the best chances of bringing offenders to justice, restoring stolen bikes to their rightful owners and prevent anybody buying stolen property."

According to the Met, in the 2013/14 financial year there were almost 2,000 fewer recorded instances of cycle theft in London compared to the previous 12 months, a 9 per cent year-on-year drop.

Siwan Hayward deputy director of enforcement and on-street operations, commented: “Tackling cycle theft is an important step for us at TfL in achieving the Mayor’s ambition to get more people cycling, and so we are very supportive of this action by the TfL funded Safer Transport Command.

“With the sun now shining, it’s a great time to get on your bike - but please take a few simple steps to deter thieves by having it Bike Register security marked, using really good locks of gold ‘sold secure standard’, and locking your bike well both on street and when it’s parked in your garden, shed or communal hall,” she added.

road.cc bike locking tips

Over the years we’ve compiled a definitive set of anti bike theft tips, with input from the road.cc community. Here they are:

• Lock your bike to a secure, immovable object. Trees and certain pieces of street furniture don’t make particularly good locking locations; trees limbs can be sawed through, and your bike can often be lifted over bollards and signposts.
• Your wheels are the most vulnerable part of your bike. Make sure that your lock goes through both wheels and the frame, or use two locks: one for each wheel. Alternatively you can invest in a locking wheel skewer for your front wheel.
• It doesn’t take long to steal a bike. Make sure that you lock your bike up properly whether you are leaving it for 30 seconds or half an hour.
• Bike lights and other items and accessories that are not secured to your bike are easy pickings for thieves. Take them with you whenever you leave your bike.
• No matter how safe you feel in your home, your bike is still at risk, especially if it’s in your garage or your shed. Lock it up at home like you would if you were on the street.
• Not all bike locks are cheap, but you really do get what you pay for. If you treasure your bike, buying the best locks that you can afford would be a wise investment.
• If you come back to your bike and it's got a mysterious puncture or damage, walk it home. It's probably been marked in the hope that you'll leave it there overnight.
• Consider using a registration service, such as Bike Register, to physically mark your bike with an identifying feature and link it to your identity on the police database. Certain councils and police constabularies offer free solutions, and there are alternatives to Bike Register.
• If it does go missing you must report it. The police will only take bike crime more seriously if they have reason to do so.
• If you're down to one lock, or are particularly worried about the security of your wheel, taking your front wheel with you eliminates half of the risk of theft immediately.
• Use secure bike parking wherever possible. Even for a price, your bike will be far better protected from theft inside a designated secure location rather than on the street, no matter how well you think you’ve locked it up.
• Make sure that you lock your bike up in as public of a place as possible. If you leave it in a secluded location, it will give any would-be thief time to work on your lock undisturbed.
• Make the lock mechanism itself hard to access. For example if you're locking your bike to railings, point the lock mechanism away from the street so it's harder for a thief to attack.
• Don't leave space in your shackle - any extra space gives evil bike stealing tools the room they need to do their dirty work. Don't give them that opportunity.
• If you’ve taken out insurance on your bike don’t buy any old lock. Make sure that the locks that you have purchased are featured on Sold Secure’s approved products list as many insurance companies insist on their use.
• But most importantly, wherever you’re going, please do not forget your lock!

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

15 comments

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Username [145 posts] 1 year ago
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Whao, so they can actually tackle this if they want.

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jefefelipe [2 posts] 1 year ago
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Part of the problem, (before you even get to the levels of the Dutch problem). Is that all the investment on cycle parking (in London) has been taken up by the bike hire scheme occupying space in the name of 'strategic' policy, ahead of addressing existing issues for cyclists.

Tfl have been able to wield undue influence as a transport organisation in a 'commercial' venture with a sizeable budget & ability to influence the street infrastructure.

In Denmark & Netherlands the intentions of transport companies to implement similar schemes (aimed at deriving revenue beyond the metro/rail journey) has not happened, as the existing population of cyclists are significantly higher & have instead the issues of lack of cycle parking facilities.

With all the talk of following the Dutch model. The transport company's instinct is to try & extend the ability to charge the commuter, rather than to invest in facilities that won't necessarily fit into a neat revenue generation model. Seeing the existing Dutch problem, you can see aside from the priority on the road for cyclists, the issue is providing these parking facilities; but then that would probably also require space & people, & TLF are focused on providing a system that doesn't involve people (unless they are part of an outsourced contract)

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thereverent [390 posts] 1 year ago
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The Met could make a big impact by visiting Brick Lane market and Nine Elms market on a sunday and checking the bikes for sale there.

Good to see they are doing something.

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MKultra [394 posts] 1 year ago
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It makes sense to be honest as getting people on bikes rather than in cars reduces policing costs. The amount of crime and the amount smashes and fatalities linked to car use will go down. I also suspect they have had a rocket up their backside from Boris as unhappy cyclists will damage his election chances. Cycling to work is no longer the sole remit of beardy hemp wearing Marxists on a steel touring bike so he has votes to buy!. Who ever thought the yuppie love for all things carbon or team issue would turn out to be a good thing?

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Username [145 posts] 1 year ago
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jefefelipe wrote:

Part of the problem, (before you even get to the levels of the Dutch problem). Is that all the investment on cycle parking (in London) has been taken up by the bike hire scheme occupying space in the name of 'strategic' policy, ahead of addressing existing issues for cyclists.

Part of the problem has been the removal of parking meters - which were handy cycle parking - and replacement with pay-and-display machines without cycle parking being considered.

There are parts of London now where it's impossible to find anywhere to lock a bike.

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racyrich [235 posts] 1 year ago
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Forty-five arrests. Meaningless. What matters is convictions and punishment. It's unlikely we'll ever get to know those.
But I predict only 20% charged, half of those found not guilty, no one imprisoned, the 2 or 3 actually sanctioned made to pay a fine at the rate of £5 a week from the money we give them anyway.
Crime is free for the criminal class. There's no appetite to imprison them and no point fining them. Community punishment doesn't even deserve comment.

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Gizmo_ [1333 posts] 1 year ago
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thereverent wrote:

The Met could make a big impact by visiting Brick Lane market and Nine Elms market on a sunday and checking the bikes for sale there.

Good to see they are doing something.

Agreed. I saw a Boardman carbon road bike on the end of a group of Apollo/etc BSOs a few weeks back.

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paulfg42 [382 posts] 1 year ago
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racyrich wrote:

Crime is free for the criminal class.

Yet the prisons have never been so full. Funny that.

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paulfg42 [382 posts] 1 year ago
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racyrich wrote:

Crime is free for the criminal class.

Yet the prisons have never been so full. Funny that.

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Alec Wallace [17 posts] 1 year ago
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Many people feel there is no justice or deterrent however I'd like to see restorative justice used in these cases where suitable as there is a better chance of reducing repeat offending. If nothing else the victim has a chance to ask the offender why they did it and explain how it's effected them.

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eschelar [51 posts] 1 year ago
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If you catch a bike thief, all you need is a pair of pliers. Remove fingers alternating from the dominant hand pinky by pulling (not cutting) until the perp tells you where he lives, who he sells to, where all his buddies live etc.

If he resists, start a countdown. Start from... 11. Or if you want full effect... 13.

Even if he tells you everything, don't stop until he has just one finger left on his non-dominant hand.

Take pictures and mail his fingers to the houses of his friends.

Then you will start to see a slowdown of bike theft.

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Argos74 [372 posts] 1 year ago
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eschelar wrote:

If you catch a bike thief, all you need is a pair of pliers.

Whoah. Less coffee that early in the morning. And you need to stop watching the Saw films as an instructional.

Armchair revenge is an easy option. Having a society that doesn't create drug-addled scrota who'll sell my pride and joy for the price of their next fix is the tricky bit.

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Das [231 posts] 1 year ago
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Agree'd. Unless caught in the act of stealing the bike the worst they will face is a Reset charge which is as low a charge as it gets. Well done the Police, but it all falls down when it hits the courts.

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hampstead_bandit [593 posts] 1 year ago
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"According to the Met, in the 2013/14 financial year there were almost 2,000 fewer recorded instances of cycle theft in London compared to the previous 12 months, a 9 per cent year-on-year drop."

surely this statistic just means cyclists have stopped reporting bike thefts, as I am sure from previous experience, many cyclists have found the Police don't have the resources to do anything...

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BrianL51 [10 posts] 1 year ago
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paulfg42 wrote:
racyrich wrote:

Crime is free for the criminal class.

Yet the prisons have never been so full. Funny that.

Too many tea leaves, not enough clinks. Simple!