In January 2006 we met with representatives of Lambeth Police.
The meeting was initiated by the Police and involved PC Nick Hedges, a member of the Clapham Town Ward Safer Neighbourhood Team and one of the Policemen on bikes you may have spotted cycling round the borough; and Jonathan Tottman, Detective Superintendent in charge of Crime in Lambeth, who is also a cyclist.
The Police are keen to work with us to reduce the levels of bike theft in the Borough – according to official figures over 1,200 bicycles were reported stolen in Lambeth in the six months from April to September last year – that’s over 200 a month or six a day.
They stressed the importance of the basics of crime prevention: locking the bikes securely in a visible location.
To help businesses the Police have several Crime Prevention Design Advisors who can advise on where to put cycle racks to minimise the risk of theft. We are planning to ensure that these officers are consulted on any new cycle parking proposals we are aware of in the borough. The Police have recommended the free registration service http://www.immobilise.com, endorsed by Tfl and LCC, which makes it easier to restore stolen bikes to their owners – enter your name, address and bike details on the website so that the Police have the details to hand if the bike is found.
If you have your bike stolen there are various ways of reporting it. You could go to your local police station, report it via the the Metropolitan Police website http://www.met.police.uk or http://www.immobilise.com (if registered), telephone Lambeth Police on 020 7326 1212 or, if the theft has just happened, you call 999. Even if you think there is no hope of retrieving your bike please still report it to the Police
Another key area we raised at the meeting was enforcement, particularly in relation to speeding and other dangerous driving practices. The Police acknowledged that this is a problem and recommended that we report extreme cases of dangerous driving to them. They are also interested to hear of hotspots with particular traffic enforcement problems, for example where speed limits or no entry signs are regularly ignored. If you are aware of specific locations in Lambeth which you think we should encourage the Police to target, please let us know so we can take this forward.
All in all this was a very useful and lively meeting and we are hoping it will lead to an ongoing dialogue on a range of crime-related issues affecting cyclists. If you have any queries, comments or suggestions on how to reduce crime against cyclists, please get in touch with us or contact your local Safer Neighbourhood Team.