West Midlands Police are one of the first forces in the country to fully embrace a new code of practice aimed at slamming the door in the face of thieves trying to sell stolen goods.
A Home Office Code of Practice encourages forces to get second hand stores signed up to a scheme where they check all items offered up for sale against the CheckMEND database which logs if goods have been recorded as lost or stolen.
The force have hundreds of stores such as Cash Converters, Cash Generator, Cex and other independent second hand stores signed up to the scheme and are launching it in style on 23 January with an Impact Activation Day.
On the day officers across the force will be at second hand stores, schools and shopping centres registering goods onto the immobilise database for free.
Each of the stores who have signed up check items offered for sale against the CheckMEND site. Each search generates a unique certificate number. This can be issued to a potential buyer to prove that at the time of purchase the item was not reported lost or stolen and no adverse information was recorded against it.
David Bursey from Byte size Solutions in Kings Heath, Birmingham said:
Now we can use CheckMEND we can buy items from people who come in off the street. We have been dubious about doing that in the past because we have not been able to trace the history of the item. This has opened up new possibilities in how we can conduct our business that is of real benefit to us and our customers.
DC Vanessa Lewis from Force CID who is heading up the project to get all West Midlands second hand stores signed up said:
Our officers have been passionate about getting stores signed up as one of the main ways we can stop the sale of stolen goods and ultimately deter burglars and thieves.
The more the public register their goods on immobilise, the more effective the system will be.
Cycle theft in Sheffield is a growing problem according to recent report in the Star. It was reported that only 41 of the 1,595 bicycles stolen from Sheffield city centre in the last 10 years have ever been recovered by police. The number of bike thefts in the city has soared in the last decade, particularly around the railway station and the universities.
With the average stolen bike costing just under £400, that means cyclists in Sheffield have been saddled with a bill of £638,000.
Sgt Darren Nugent, from South Yorkshire Police’s city centre safer neighbourhood team, said:
Over the last couple of years bike theft has gone up and up.
We have caught two or three thieves who were out stealing bikes all the time, and taking those few out of the equation has definitely curbed bike theft.
Officers also have another weapon in their armoury – the tracker bike. The GPS-enabled bikes are locked at theft hotspots and left unguarded to tempt thieves. If stolen, the device alerts police by text and officers use Google Earth to pinpoint its location.
Sgt Nugent advised cyclists to spend at least 10 per cent of their bike’s value on a lock and said two locks were always better than one. He also urged bikers to register their property at Immobilise – the UK national property register.
The Immobilise Property Register is linked directly to Police systems helping to quickly identify the rightful owner of recovered property, for more information go to www.immobilise.com/about
Following string of bike thefts and a successful operation to catch the thieves responsible Bristol police have made several suggestions on how to avoid becoming a victime of bicycle related crime.
Police are urging people to always secure their bikes and to take with them any objects that can be removed.
Their advice includes:
Invest in quality locks. For a decent lock expect to spend a minimum of £40 or approximately 20% of the value of your bike;
Register your bike for free by visiting national property database Immobilise (www.immobilise.com). If the worst happens and your bike is stolen police can use the database to reunite you with your property;
Always lock your bike to an immovable object and don’t just lock the frame to the wheel;
Don’t lock your bike in the same place on a regular basis. It could be stolen to order;
All cycle owners are being urged to sign up to the scheme, so that police can identify who stolen bikes belong to when they are recovered.
Officers are currently tying to trace the owners of a cycle which was targeted last month – who could have been easily traced if they had taken advantage of the free security marking offered by Operation Spoke.
At around 8pm on Friday 3 June 2011, police recovered a bike at the cycle racks near the Minster after someone had made an attempt to steal it.
The bike is in police possession but as yet the owner is unknown and police are urging anyone who believes it belongs to them to come forward.
If this is your bike contact North Yorkshire Police on 0845 60 60 24 7, quoting reference number 12110090973.
Officers are also trying to trace the owner of a black or grey Cannondale Bad Boy hybrid cycle which was stolen from the cycle racks on Tanner’s Moat, outside The Maltings at around 1.40pm on Tuesday 28 June 2011.
A 17-year-old youth was arrested in connection with the theft, however officers need the owner of the bike to come forward and report it stolen.
If you believe this was your cycle, contact North Yorkshire Police on 0845 60 60 24 7, quoting reference number 12110106413.
PC Fiona Wilding of York police, said:
Cycles are often a target for thieves and it is important that people take action to protect their property.
It is advisable to buy a good quality bike lock and if possible use two different styles of lock, as thieves are rarely equipped to break both.
Everyone should also consider having their bike ‘spoked’ to make it easier for the police to catch offenders and return your bike if it stolen.
Security tagging involves having a unique mark placed on the frame of your bike which can then be matched to key details stored on the police database such as make, model and frame number.
The process is simple, quick and free and can be done at the Bike Rescue Project under Lendal Bridge or at regular Operation Spoke events held throughout the city.
Immobilise’s Police search portal, the NMPR, continues to help the joint MPS/TfL London Cycle Task Force in identifying and returning stolen bikes and property to their rightful owners.
As reported by BikeBiz, PCSOs Jaime Page, Matthew Sait and Derek Fletcher from the MPS/TfL (Metropolitan Police Service/Transport for London) run Cycle Task Force reunited a stolen bike with its owner this month. While on patrol in Islington on May 3rd 2011, they noticed an unsecure and unattended silver bike upturned outside a sports shop in Chapel Market, London.
The officers checked the frame number of the bike against the National Mobile Property Register (NMPR) to check if it was registered and reported stolen. The checks revealed the registered bike had been stolen in Tavistock Square, WC1H one month earlier on April 4th.
The PCSOs detained the suspect – a 17 year old boy from Camden – who was inside a nearby shop. He was then arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods and has since been bailed, to return to police on June 30th.
Cycle Task Force Inspector Graham Horwood said:
We are delighted to be able to return this bike to its rightful owner.
This shows that you can increase your chances of having your lost or stolen bike returned to you, by having it registered and reporting any theft to police. We advise any cyclist to do the three R’s’ – record the details of their bike, register them onto online property databases and report any theft to the police.
The cycle-dedicated team of officers are aiming to cut bike crime in London and has made over 130 arrests since its launch in June 2010.
The NMPR is the dedicated on-line property search system for UK Law Enforcement agencies. It allows the police to search any identifiable item of property to view its registered owners details, if it’s been reported stolen to the system by the police anywhere in the UK, by the owner, the insurance company or in the case of a mobile phone, a network.
Virtually all the forces in the UK use the NMPR with nearly a hundred thousand officers with access via their control centres, handheld devices and computer systems. Hundreds of thousands of checks have been run since the system went live with many arrests and charges brought as a result of the information held on the NMPR database.
The public can proactively register property on www.immobilise.com that is instantley searchable via the Police NMPR, mean that the police can on occasion return your property before you even realise or report it stolen!
Student cyclists across Greater Manchester are being urged to saddle up and beat the bike thieves by taking advantage of free bike security schemes, following the theft of more than 5,200 pedal bikes last year.
Between 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2011, 5,265 bikes were stolen from across Greater Manchester – a nine per cent increase compared to the same period in the previous year.
Over the next few weeks, students will be invited to attend a series of bike security marking events across Greater Manchester. Police officers will give out a limited number of free bike locks to cyclists without adequate security on a first come, first served basis, along with discount vouchers for the Bike Doctor, Manchester, and bike security advice.
In this latest effort to stamp out bike theft, officers will also target thieves by using a number of decoy bikes to track down offenders, along with increased patrols in hotspot areas. In addition, officers will also be on the lookout for bikes with similar descriptions to those stolen, stop-checking anyone who might be riding one. Should a bike turn out to be stolen, they could be arrested.
This is a great opportunity to help put the brakes on bike theft by getting your bikes security marked free of charge.
Bikes are expensive so will always be a target for thieves, especially if they aren’t secured or only have a standard lock. We would like to encourage students, where possible, to use the official cycle racks covered by CCTV. However, if they are not available secure it to a heavy or bulky object that can’t be moved.
You can also register your bike at www.immobilise.com, which is an online database linked to police property systems that will help us reunite you with your bike should it be stolen and later found. By advertising that your bike’s identity has been registered, it becomes far less attractive to thieves.
As part of the campaign, posters will go up in cycle shops, universities, colleges, public buildings, schools, sports centres and other eye-catching places. In addition, bike hangers, with a discount voucher for secure locks and crime prevention advice, will be hung on parked bikes in universities and colleges.
Based around the slogan ‘Beat The Bike Thief’, the poster and hanger remind cyclists to always secure bikes with a good quality chain or lock when not in use, making it much more difficult to steal.
The Morpeth Herald has reported that Northumberland Police are urging cyclists to stop thieves having an easy ride when it comes to stealing bikes.
The warning comes after a recent increase in the number of bikes being targeted by thieves in the area. Figures show that since January 1 this year there have been 69 pedal cycles stolen in the county – 56 of them were left unattended and insecure.
Northumberland Crime Prevention Advisor Del Graham said:
Always lock your bike when you leave it – even if it is only for a minute.
Store it in a shed or garage where possible and always use a quality padlock or chain to secure your bike.
Cyclists can register their bikes at www.immobilise.com which is a property register scheme supported by Northumbria Police. They should also consider getting their bike security marked so if it is stolen and recovered it can be returned.
We run a number of free bike marking events in the county so check the police website (www.northumbria.police.uk) for details of one in your area.
And finally, record the serial number of the bike and photograph it. If it is stolen this could really help officers track it down and return it.
Police in south Manchester are urging residents to register their items on immobilise.
The police seize hundreds of items each year and many of them cannot be returned, as police do not know where they have come from.
Immobilise.com is a free database whereby residents can register valuable items and record information such as serial numbers and distinguishing marks. All police forces have access to the site and when an item is seized or handed in, officers can check the database and find out who it belongs to.
Inspector Paul Kinrade from the South Manchester Division of Greater Manchester Police said:
Our property store is crammed full of bikes, garden tools, computers, jewellery and clothing but unfortunately a lot of this is never returned to its owners as we are not able to identify where it has come from.
Obviously we hope that residents never have to go through the experience of getting broken into but registering your valuables on immobilise only takes a couple of minutes and it could spell the difference between getting your stolen items back or never seeing them again.
To avoid the chances of being broken into, please remember to shut and lock all of your windows and doors. It sounds really obvious but unfortunately a third of burglaries happen because homes are left insecure.
You can also help to deter burglars by leaving lights on and keeping valuables out of view.