Cycle Theft in Bristol

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PC Frank
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Cycle Theft in Bristol

Postby PC Frank » 2 Jul 2009, 12:36pm

Hello everyone,
I am a new user on this forum and wanted to introduce myself to you all.

My name is Frank and I am a police officer working with the Community Safety Team at Newfoundland Road Police Station.

One of my roles is to reduce bike theft in Bristol city over the next two years in tandem (haha) with the timetable for cycling city.

I wanted to join this forum so that users would have an opportunity to contact me directly and discuss the issue of bike theft.

Now for the contriversal part.......are you ready........(deep breath).......I am not a cyclist.

However, I do know something about crime reduction and I am concerned about the level of theft in the city and want to help prevent people becoming victim's of crime.

I hope that my presence on this forum will be of benefit to you. I won't always be able to provide the result you desire, and I won't always be able to tell you everything the police is doing (some of it is a bit secret squirrel). But I wil do my best to assist and advise you.

There are 43 geographical police forces in the UK, and they all organise themselves differently, therefore if you live outside of Bristol and have an enquiry, I will be unable to assist you - sorry.

Cheers,

Frank

PC 1422 Frank Simonds
Crime Prevention Design Advisor
Bristol Community Safety Team
Newfoundland Road Police Station

rjb
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Re: Cycle Theft in Bristol

Postby rjb » 3 Jul 2009, 2:48pm

Hi Frank,
Welcome to the forum. As a Somerset resident in the Avon and Somerset Police area do you look after us as well or are you restricted to Bristol only.
Regards, Roger
At the last count:- Focus Variado, Peugeot 531 pro, Dawes Discovery Tandem, 2 Dawes Kingpins, Raleigh 20, Falcon K2 MTB dropped bar tourer, On One Pompino, Longstaff trike conversion on a Falcon corsa. :D

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meic
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Re: Cycle Theft in Bristol

Postby meic » 3 Jul 2009, 4:02pm

You have been thrown into the Lions' den havent you?
The fact that you are not a cyclist doesnt matter a bit.
Your sucsess will hopefully be judged purely on the number of stolen bikes going down and retrieved bikes going up.

One for ever recuring complaint is that when reporting a theft Police do not seem interested in all of those little details we have that would make our bikes instantly recognisable. It gives the impression that no attempt will be made to do so anyway when an obviously stolen bike is found.
Yma o Hyd

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gaz
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Re: Cycle Theft in Bristol

Postby gaz » 3 Jul 2009, 5:47pm

I guess you found this one.

Nice to know they don't always get away with it.
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661-Pete-oldversion
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Re: Cycle Theft in Bristol

Postby 661-Pete-oldversion » 3 Jul 2009, 6:17pm

Welcome Frank,
Although I don't live anywhere near Bristol, I think you are wrong to say you can't be of help to people outside your area. Whilst I appreciate that you can't get involved in the affairs of other Police forces, you can at least impart of your advice and experience on this forum. Thieving is thieving wherever it occurs in the country! And I don't suppose a Bristol bike thief behaves that much differently from an Aberdeen bike thief!

I feel there are areas of knowledge about what goes through the mind of the typical bike thief (what sort of bike he looks for, where does he like to nick it from, what time of day he operates, what sort of lock he prefers to tackle, what does he do with the bike once he's taken it, that sort of thing) where you could give us the benefit of your experience.

Trouble is, if you give too much away the thieves may take a few tips from you too... :(

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Re: Cycle Theft in Bristol

Postby eileithyia » 3 Jul 2009, 8:03pm

Hi and welcome. I guess best bit of advise is lock your bike!
We in lancs have had bikes very much targeted at local cycle cafes, some now have CCTV installed and even have a selection of locks that we can use whilst at the cafe. Whilst you may not be able help at specific crimes I presume information is shared between forces with regard to thefts as no doubt some of these bikes end up on ebay or at a boot sale the other end of the country.
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Re: Cycle Theft in Bristol

Postby byegad » 4 Jul 2009, 8:54am

I'd second the comment about taking the particular particulars of a stolen bike. Most riders who have had a bike for a while will have added parts or changed some of them from standard specification.

I know I can pick my ride out of a dozen or more same make/model by the changed/added parts. While I wouldn't expect a Police Officer to be able to do this in detail by recording these changes it makes it more likley that the bike will be identified if recovered.
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PC Frank
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Re: Cycle Theft in Bristol

Postby PC Frank » 6 Jul 2009, 11:02am

Hi all,
For your information my email is frank.simonds@avonandsomerset.pnn.police.uk if you need to contact me outside the forum.

rjb - I do just cover Bristol, but email me with your address and I will let you know who you local crime reduction officer is.

In relation to the issues you have when reporting: firstly you are correct that the modifications which you guys make to your bikes do serve to make them more identifiable. However, there are only a small number of officers who are committed cyclists and would be able to identify bikes by their components.

Also, the avon and somerset crime reporting system is computerised and their are limited fields for the entry of free text.

If you are a victim of cycle theft in Bristol and you wish to let the police have a copy of your component list, then I recommend that you contact the Avon and Somerset Force Service Centre on 0845 456 7000.

Explain that you wish to send some additional information to add to the incident you reported and they will provide you with the address to send it to.

Remember to include the incident reference number so that the information you provide can be linked with the original report.

Bare in mind that due to the small number of officers with detailed knowledge of bikes - the information you send in may not increase the chances of your bike being recovered. I'm not trying to be pessemistic here - I just don't want to get people's hopes up.

On a more positive note. Here is something that everyone on the forum can do.....and it's free (yippee)!!

Register your bike on www.immobilise.com which is a property registration website that is supported by most UK police forces.

When you visit the site you will be asked to enter your email address and confirm. You will then be asked how you heard of the website. If you are registering as a result of what I am posting, then please highlight 'Bristol Police'.

You will then be asked to add an inventory item and will be able to select a form for bikes. Complete the details including the frame number as an identifier. You can also add an image of your bike.

After you have registered your bike, keep an eye on your email account for an email confirming your login nmae and password (this may take as long as a few weeks). Don't forget to check your junk mail folder as the message may land in there.

Once you have your account details, you can log in to your account and add details of mobile phones, laptops and just about anything electrical which has a serial number.

If your bike (or other item) is lost or stolen, and comes into police possession, then it should be checked on a separate secure law enforcement database which is linked to immobilise. If it is on there, then your lost posseion can be returned to you.

Furthermore, if the check is done on the street whilst in the clutches of a nare-do-well, they can be arrested and hopefully charged with theft (hurrah)!

The effectiveness of this system relies upon people registering their belongings on immobilise - so the more of you that take advantage of this, the better.

There is nothing more frustrating than stopping some one on a bike that you know is stolen (copper's instinct), and having to let them and the bike go, because you can't prove that it's not their bike.

"Aha PC Frank" I hear you cry "What if I register my bike, and the nare-do-well who steals it grinds off the frame number"?

Many bike theives are so brazen that they don't bother to conceal the identity of the bike. Also, if you explore the immobilise website, you will find a product which helps to negate this.

Stay safe and vigilant,

PC Frank

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rbrian
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Re: Cycle Theft in Bristol

Postby rbrian » 6 Jul 2009, 7:28pm

When you recover stolen goods, do you always run the serial numbers? Always? And what percentage of stolen goods are recovered? Not that I want to be too cynical, but it's hard not to be. Every little helps, I suppose.

PS- It's ne'er-do-well, an abbreviation of never-do-well. [/pedant]
Cynic? No, an optimist tempered by experience.

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Re: Cycle Theft in Bristol

Postby Alan D » 7 Jul 2009, 1:10pm

Hello Frank,
Where does Datatrak fall into your scheme? Both of my bikes are 'chipped & logged' and well advertised with a permanent sticker prominently displayed on the frame, so do I also need to register with your scheme? Are 'chipped' bikes less likely to get nicked?
Keep up the good work, glad to have you around.
Alan

PC Frank
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Re: Cycle Theft in Bristol

Postby PC Frank » 8 Jul 2009, 3:23pm

Alan D wrote:Hello Frank,
Where does Datatrak fall into your scheme? Both of my bikes are 'chipped & logged' and well advertised with a permanent sticker prominently displayed on the frame, so do I also need to register with your scheme? Are 'chipped' bikes less likely to get nicked?
Keep up the good work, glad to have you around.
Alan


There are many asset registration products available which are all effective. However, for every product, the police need to buy whichever scanner or detector is required to identify bikes with that particular.

Most of these cost several hundred pounds and for Bristol we would need at least three for each detained property store or ten for each station. Pretty expensive.

This is an issue across all the forces in England & Wales and so the decision had to be made for us to endorse one system. As immobilise has free registration, the Home Office have endorsed this system.

Alan - I would recommend that you register your bike on immobilise as datatrak registered bikes are not included on the immobilise database.

I have no evidence that 'chipped' bikes are less likely to be stolen. However, I would suggest that visible stickers advertising that the bike is chipped would be a deterrant.

There is also an electronic chip product which is linked to immobilise and can be found on www.immobilise.com

thirdcrank
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Re: Cycle Theft in Bristol

Postby thirdcrank » 8 Jul 2009, 4:49pm

PC Frank wrote:... There are many asset registration products available which are all effective. However, for every product, the police need to buy whichever scanner or detector is required to identify bikes with that particular.

Most of these cost several hundred pounds and for Bristol we would need at least three for each detained property store or ten for each station. Pretty expensive.

This is an issue across all the forces in England & Wales and so the decision had to be made for us to endorse one system. As immobilise has free registration, the Home Office have endorsed this system. ...

http://www.immobilise.com


The immobilise site does not have any information about national sole endorsement by all police forces and the Home Office. Indeed, there is a little window where the badges of forces using the system appear two at a time. I counted only 14, including the British Transport Police and at least one Scottish force (no name on badge.) As you point out, there are some 43 'Home Office' forces in England and Wales, that leaves 31 whose badge is not displayed and I think it would be useful to have clarification of this. I appreciate that your advice is directed primarily at your local residents but you were the one who mentioned a common approach across police forces and this is a national forum (and criminals have been known to travel - especially on stolen bikes.)

After my home had been burgled last summer, I was given a free supply of smartwater http://www.smartwater.com/Home.aspx by my local force (West Yorkshire Police.) I appreciate that this is not a tracking device, but rather a uniquely identifiable marker, visible only with ultraviolet light, but your comments about competing systems might apply equally.

PC Frank
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Re: Cycle Theft in Bristol

Postby PC Frank » 10 Jul 2009, 8:35am

thirdcrank wrote:
PC Frank wrote:... There are many asset registration products available which are all effective. However, for every product, the police need to buy whichever scanner or detector is required to identify bikes with that particular.

Most of these cost several hundred pounds and for Bristol we would need at least three for each detained property store or ten for each station. Pretty expensive.

This is an issue across all the forces in England & Wales and so the decision had to be made for us to endorse one system. As immobilise has free registration, the Home Office have endorsed this system. ...

http://www.immobilise.com


The immobilise site does not have any information about national sole endorsement by all police forces and the Home Office. Indeed, there is a little window where the badges of forces using the system appear two at a time. I counted only 14, including the British Transport Police and at least one Scottish force (no name on badge.) As you point out, there are some 43 'Home Office' forces in England and Wales, that leaves 31 whose badge is not displayed and I think it would be useful to have clarification of this. I appreciate that your advice is directed primarily at your local residents but you were the one who mentioned a common approach across police forces and this is a national forum (and criminals have been known to travel - especially on stolen bikes.)

After my home had been burgled last summer, I was given a free supply of smartwater http://www.smartwater.com/Home.aspx by my local force (West Yorkshire Police.) I appreciate that this is not a tracking device, but rather a uniquely identifiable marker, visible only with ultraviolet light, but your comments about competing systems might apply equally.


I took my information from a publication describing immobilise as being supported by "...UK Police services and the Home Office..." in 2005. I appreciate that this may not be on the website. Apologies for any confusion.

There are several forensic marking fliuds available on the market. They may be a suitable option for marking components, however, I am unsure how they will stand up to exposure to the great outdoors. Would be best to check with the company making the product you are thinking of using. Always check the product is Secured by Design approved (www.securedby design.com).

thirdcrank
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Re: Cycle Theft in Bristol

Postby thirdcrank » 10 Jul 2009, 11:09am

Thanks for that. It was made clear from the outset that this advice was directed only at Bristol and fair enough.

OTOH if people are going to invest in tracking devices etc I think they expect there might be some sort of national consistency. I think it's fair to point out that the chief officers (commissioner in the Met and City of London, chief constable elsewhere) jealously protect their operational independence. (Other organisations like the British Transport Police and Ministry of Defence Police are more closely aligned to the dictates of their funding bodies.) At the same time they generally reach a common policy through the Association of Chief Police Officers ("The ACPO" to insiders, plain ACPO to the rest of us.) Sometimes the common policy is that they will each do their own thing. I fancy this is the cause of the apparent lack of any consistency on this property identification issue. On top of this the Home Office gets involved in all sorts of ways when it wants to, by issuing 'Home Office Circulars' imposing priorities etc., but for the most part ducks out by hiding behind the operational independence of chief officers.

So you can postcode your bike, record the serial number and photographs, security mark it, fit a tracker (or several) etc, but the best way to avoid problems with recovering it, is to avoid getting it nicked.

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Re: Cycle Theft in Bristol

Postby 2Tubs » 10 Jul 2009, 12:36pm

Good to hear from you PC Frank.

Keep up the good work.

Now if you could talk to your colleagues in traffic about offering us some protection from the speedophiles rather than ignoring this behaviour until they actually kill someone, I'd marry you, have your children and let you go out with your friends on a Saturday night.

Gazza
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