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Cambridge City Council

Partnership work to tackle cycle crime in Cambridge sees thefts reduced by 56%

24 November 2023

A number of local organisations which set up a working group to tackle cycle crime have helped achieve a 56% reduction in thefts in Cambridge since 2018.

The multi-agency task group led by Cambridge City Council has implemented several initiatives to tackle cycle crime. These range from educational campaigns to cycle parking security improvements and enhancing enforcement measures.

Save Our Cycles campaign

The educational campaign has been spearheaded by local charity Camcycle, which encourages people to work together and help 'Save Our Cycles' – sharing information on how to love, lock and list your cycle to keep it as safe as possible.

The ‘Love it’ guidance recommends keeping a record of your cycle’s make and model, colour and size, and frame number, and encourages people to take photos and keep the details safe, including any receipts for your cycle and accessories. The ‘Lock it’ guidance recommends using two locks and advises which type of lock to use and how best to use them – including encouraging people to park cycles on designated cycle stands which provide a secure fixing point, rather than using trees, lampposts or other street furniture. The ‘List it’ guidance encourages cyclists to register cycle frame numbers and photographs on Bike Register, a secure online database that all UK police forces can access; and to use a cycle-marking kit to help deter theft and make it easier to identify stolen cycles.

Group partners have funded the purchase of 2,500 cycle marking kits. Of these 1,350 have been used so far at cycle marking events run by the partnership. The kits have contributed to an overall increase of 2,210 bikes being registered on the Bike Register database since April 2022.

Bike parking security improvements

16 new CCTV cameras have been installed in the city centre this summer by Huntingdonshire District Council and Cambridge City Council’s CCTV Shared Service Monitoring Centre team. The cameras act as deterrents, providing 24/7 coverage of key on-street cycle parking locations at Market Square, Sidney Street, St Andrew’s Street, Fitzroy Street and Burleigh Street, covering approximately 650 cycle parking spaces.

The cameras have supported 33 arrests to date. CCTV operators at the Shared Service have also shared footage from more than 300 additional incidents with the police.

Enhanced enforcement measures

Cambridgeshire Police have been using Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs) to target individual offenders. CBOs can put conditions on individual offenders, such as not being in certain areas, or not being in possession of a cycle without proof of ownership. Where an offender continues to offend, CBOs can make it easier to secure criminal charges and result in more severe court outcomes.

Cllr Alice Gilderdale, Executive Councillor for Community Wealth Building and Community Safety at Cambridge City Council, said: “Cycle crime has been a long-standing concern for Cambridge residents. Not only is it endlessly frustrating as well as financially burdensome to have your cycle stolen but worries about cycle crime also have a negative impact on how people choose to travel and whether they are willing to cycle – affecting people’s health and wellbeing, as well as the environment.

“It’s hugely rewarding to see evidence of progress being made to tackle the issue in Cambridge. This success can clearly be linked to the projects put in place by the multi-agency task group – and I’m grateful to all the partners involved.

“We have more to do though, such as significant investment earmarked for Greater Anglia’s Cycle Point facility at Cambridge Railway station, and a proposal for improvements to cycle parking at Queen Anne Terrace car park, both due in 2024.”

The multi-agency task group is led by Cambridge City Council as part of the Cambridge Community Safety Partnership.

The partnership brings together colleagues from the city and county councils, police, fire and probation services, transport police, and health, as well as local business, voluntary and higher education organisations.

The partnership looks at what community safety issues people in Cambridge are experiencing and decides what actions to take to prevent or deal with these issues together. Long-term concerns about cycle theft were identified as an area of concern for the community, leading to the task group being established in 2020.