Officers from British Transport Police (BTP) officers are reminding commuters who cycle to and from railway stations to ensure their cycles and locks are as secure as possible as efforts continue to deter thieves who target bikes locked at stations.
BTP officers regularly team up with colleagues from other police forces and Train Operating Companies to hold cycle surgeries offering safety advice and bike security marking for commuters across the country.
The latest surgery will take place tomorrow, Wednesday June 25, at Leighton Buzzard rail station between 4pm and 7pm.
The event coincides with the latest Op Wiggins national day of action. Op Wiggins is a national initiative launched in September 2013 by BTP to combat cycle crime. More details can be found at http://www.btp.police.uk/latest_news/operation_wiggins_launches.aspx
While many commuters heed the advice and take extra steps to prevent themselves becoming victims of crime, the officers’ work sometimes falls on deaf ears and some commuters continue to use poor locks and even leave their bikes at stations for several days or weeks, making them more attractive to thieves.
Now, with the help of abandoned bikes - which have been sprayed bright green to attract attention - officers are determined to spread the cycle security message to more commuters at Leighton Buzzard, Rugby, Coventry and Canley stations in the coming months.
Insp Chris Casey, from BTP Milton Keynes, said: “The brightly-coloured bikes, which also have posters attached to them warning police operations are ongoing, are designed to catch the eye.
“The bikes and the posters are designed to act as a deterrent to thieves and also make cyclists think twice about how good their locks and security measures are when they leave their bikes unattended at railway stations.”
At the surgeries, officers will be handing out leaflets and crime prevention advice to commuters, as well as offering security marking for commuters’ bikes and advice on how to register on national cycle security databases.
Unfortunately, cyclists who leave their bikes at stations for long periods of time can find themselves the victims of theft - but measures such as the regular cycle surgeries and initiatives such as the sprayed bike, help cut the number of incidents.
Insp Casey added: “There are a number of steps cyclists can take to help prevent themselves from becoming victims of crime. Getting their bike registered on the national crime-fighting database at our cycle surgeries is completely free of charge.
“Getting your bike registered helps police return any recovered stolen cycles to their owners more easily - and it makes your property less appealing to would-be thieves.
“Also, I cannot highlight strongly enough the importance of using a good quality D-lock to secure your cycle and also to lock both wheels as well as your frame. It will act as a deterrent to thieves and reduce your chances of becoming a victim of crime.
“Don’t use poor quality wire locks which are easy to snap.”
“In the meantime, BTP is stepping up the number of plain clothes patrols, using tracker bike deployments, holding cycle surgeries with SusTrans to improve bike security, and working with train operators to conduct security patrols and improve CCTV at locations where cycle racks are in place.”
ADVICE FOR KEEPING YOUR BIKE SAFE AND SECURE:
Bicycles are a popular target for thieves. Here are some simple tips to ensure your cycle remains secure:
Always lock your bicycle whenever you leave it at a designated cycle rack area. Lock the frame and both wheels to a cycle stand.
Consider using more than one lock to secure your bike and ensure that you use a recognised security standard lock. D-locks, extension cable or heavy chain locks are certified locking mechanisms. It is important to ensure that yours are up to date.
Make the lock(s) and bike hard to manoeuvre when parked by ensuring little room between the stand and the bike.
Do not allow your lock(s) to come into contact with the ground, where they are viewed as more vulnerable.
Take a photograph of your bike and record your frame number and key details. This will be crucial in recovering your bike if it is stolen.
Mark your frame with your postcode in two separate locations, one of which should be hidden. Attach a ‘Coded Cycle’ label to reduce the risk of making your bike a target for theft.
Do not ride with valuables in open baskets or panniers.
Register your bicycle at www.immobilise.com or www.bikeregister.com