The Metropolitan Police is teaming up with bike shops across the capital in the run-up to Christmas to give cyclists the chance to have their bikes marked and registered for free, as well as giving advice in how to lock bikes securely to help thwart would-be thieves.
The initiative is being organised by the Metropolitan Police’s Safer Transport Teams, which operate across all 32 London Boroughs, as well as the Cycle Task Force, with officers using BikeRegister, which the force has selected as its preferred cycle register, to record details of bikes.
In the past six months, Met officers have marked 23,000 bikes in London and registered their details on BikeRegister, which helps both police and retailers identify the legitimate owner of bicycles that have been stolen or sold on.
Cycle Task Force Chief Inspector Ian Vincent commented: “We want Londoners to enjoy cycling this Christmas so if you are out buying a bike this month, come and get it security marked and registered for free.
"We advise any cyclist to follow 'the three R's' - Record the details of their bike, Register them onto online property databases like www.bikeregister.com and Report any theft to the police. These are simple steps that all cyclists should take so that if their bike is stolen they stand a good chance of being reunited with it."
According to the forces Safer Transport Command and Transport for London (TfL), reported cycle theft in the city has fallen by 5.4 per cent since its peak in 2009/10, thanks in part to the establishment of the 30-strong Cycle Task Force.
As part of its strategy of combating the thieves, the latter has focused on trying to disrupt trade in stolen bikes and parts, as well as partnering with second-hand goods websites and running covert operations. Uniformed patrols have also been stepped up in bike crime hotspots to provide a visible deterrent.
Andrew Knights, Managing Director of Selectamark, the owner of BikeRegister, said: that the business was “delighted” to be able to support the Cycle Task Force in its attempt to reduce theft.
“We have seen a notable increase in the identification of stolen bikes since the initiative started, and in the run up to Christmas, BikeRegister will be an invaluable aid to officers on the streets helping them take immediate action against suspected bike thieves."
Among the retailers taking part in the initiative are Action Bikes, Cycle Power, Cycle Surgery, Cyclopedia, Decathlon, Fudges, Halfords, Moores Cycles, Pearsons Cycles, Putney Cycles and Wallington Cycles.
Mike Hedgecox, People and Stores Director at London’s biggest bicycle retailer, Evans Cycles, said: "Evans Cycles are proud to support cycle security awareness initiatives such as the Cycle Task Force’s bike registering campaign. As experts in cycling, we know how looking after your bike can make a big difference to help combat theft."
Details of bike marking sessions to be held throughout December can be found on the Metropolitan Police website.
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.