BikeRegister attain new heights as it works with police across the UK to tackle bicycle theft
BikeRegister, the UK’s national cycle database and the leading online bicycle identification and registration initiative, continues to hit new heights, with more than 820,000 bikes currently registered – and that figure is rising every day.
BikeRegister is a Secured by Design (SBD) member company, having achieved Police Preferred Specification. It is used by every UK Police Force to search for stolen and recovered bikes, and is the preferred bike marking system of the Metropolitan Police Service and British Transport Police.
Registering and marking a bike, helps police and cycle retailers identify and verify the legitimate owner of bikes that have been stolen or are being resold – and with the latest ONS crime statistics showing 97,011 reported stolen bicycles in England and Wales during the last year this type of registering and security marking is more essential than ever.
Around 800 searches are made on the database every day, with BikeRegister averaging the recovery and return to the owner of one stolen bike every day. These successes include:
- A woman from Wandsworth who had her stolen bike recovered and returned to her by the Metropolitan Police after she spotted it, by chance, whilst out riding on another bike. The stolen bike's details were checked on BikeRegister and it was proved that the woman was its rightful owner.
- A man who had his bike returned after it was stolen from Kensington High Street around 10 years ago. The bike was seized recently by MPS Homerton from drug dealers who were using it to make drug runs. When police checked the BikeRegister database, the bike had been flagged as stolen nearly a decade ago and the real owner was surprised to receive a call from police to collect it after all these years.
- Two Met Police officers spotted a stolen bike while conducting a bike marking session in Enfield. The officers noticed that the bottom bracket of the bicycle had been scratched away where a BikeRegister number would have been placed. Checks made with BikeRegister identified the frame number as belonging to a bike that had been stolen three years previously and provided the officers with the owner’s details. The entire process took just three minutes. A quick call was made to the registered owner of the bike, who was delighted as they hadn’t expected to see the bicycle ever again.
- A PCSO from MPS Tower Hamlets who has recovered over 400 stolen bikes and returned many of them to their owners after tracking them down on BikeRegister.
BikeRegister has also been instrumental in assisting the police arrest bike thieves, with MPS Tower Hamlets making a number of arrests after the thieves were caught in possession of bikes listed on BikeRegister as having been stolen.
BikeRegister security marking involves permanently and visibly marking a bike with a unique ID code to prove ownership and placing the details of the bike on a secure national database, accessible to the Police 24/7.
Each BikeRegister kit contains deterrent warning stickers, which are a simple but essential part of the security marking process. Not only does BikeRegister deter thieves, it also alerts police to the fact that the bike is marked and registered. If a bike is stolen and then recovered, police can check the marking and log onto the database to quickly verify the true owner and reunite them with their bike. As part of the scheme, each bike owner is issued with a personal logbook as proof of ownership.
Metropolitan Police Designing Out Crime Officer Lee Honey said: “I cannot stress enough the importance of bicycle owners registering identifying features of their bicycles with an online database, such as BikeRegister.
“By registering the frame number, other distinguishing features and also uploading photographs of the bike with an online database such as BikeRegister, cyclists will have improved their likelihood of being reunited with their bicycle should it be stolen and later recovered by police.
“Chemical etch kits give the cycle a permanent numerical number (Identifier) which is unique and cannot be mistaken for alpha numeric, in the case of Carbon Fibre bikes a chemical etch provides that permanent number that these bikes do not have.
“Any measures taken also mean police investigations are more efficient as it reduces the amount of times an officer may have to call on a victim. It also increases the chances of police catching the bike thief.”
James Brown, BikeRegister Managing Director, said: "Bike theft is not an opportunistic crime. The majority of it is organised and criminals are treating it as a business. They go out and gather up as many as they can and they either sell them in the UK or they ship them off to another country.
“Another service we offer on our website is a free BikeChecker facility where the public can check to see if any given bike is registered as stolen, which means buyers of second-hand bikes can ensure they’re not picking up a stolen bike.”
SBD Development Officer Lyn Poole said: “I have worked with BikeRegister since I was a Crime Prevention Officer in the Metropolitan Police back from 2006. It has always gone down well with members of the public and whole families used to turn up in parks and outside train stations to get their bikes marked and registered.
“I'm so pleased to still be hearing of good news stories where people are being reunited with their bicycles and that offenders are being arrested for being in possession of stolen bikes."