Merseyside Police is increasing efforts to reduce the number of bike thefts taking place in the area and is providing advice on the steps cyclists can take to protect themselves and their bikes.
One of the reasons people don’t take up cycling as a means of commuting, getting to the shops, just keeping healthy, or simply for pleasure is the fear of their bikes being stolen.
Merseyside Police want to reassure bike owners that reducing the number of thefts is one of the main priorities for Wirral and as a result, have provided an uplift in patrols in the hotspot areas where these robberies have occurred.
This means that people can expect to see more high visibility officers patrolling on foot, in vehicles, on quad bikes and mountain bikes for the less accessible areas such as parks and open spaces.
Another key initiative that the force has undertaken is to set up a new bike registration project. It is estimated that only 1 in 5 victims of bike theft report it to the police, but police want to highlight that if a bike is registered through an official bike marking scheme, it is 83% less likely to be stolen.
Wirral policing team have hosted over 40 bike marking events across local schools, churches, supermarkets, and community events and as a result, has successfully registered over 400 bikes. Marking and registering your bike on the independent database only takes a few moments.
Birkenhead News spoke to Inspector Alan McKeon, at a recent bike marking event in Birkenhead. He said, “The bike register gives police and our partners a means to be able to register pedal cycles, forming a central database with a view to not only prevent them from being stolen, but also being able to return stolen bikes to the rightful owner.
“Statistically, you’re massively less likely to be a victim of bike theft if your bike is visibly marked and that’s what the research shows.
“We’ve actually been biking registering for a long time as an organisation, but we’re really ramping this up, because over the last few months, there’s a definite increase in bike thefts, whether that’s through street robberies or sheds and garages being burgled to take bikes, or just stolen from outside of the shop or the workplace.
In the few moments our reporter was speaking to Inspector McKeon, there was a steady stream of people getting their bikes registered or enquiring about future bike marking events. Inspector McKeon continued, “We’ve marked just over 400 bikes in the last couple of months. But that number is likely to increase massively because as well as doing road shows like in Birkenhead today, we are marking bikes at the point of sale.
“We have been able to get all the independent and main high street bike retailers on board. They’re going to register all of their bikes and the point of sale.”
This has been a successful start to the project, with multiple further events planned throughout the rest of the year. You can find out the details of these upcoming bike marking/registering events on the ‘Wirral Police’ Facebook page