07/06/2010

Met Cops 'Get On Their Bikes'

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

The 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 and by 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.

They will also be targeting bike theft and the handling of stolen bicycles through covert investigation and 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.

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."

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."

(BMCC/GK)

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