A new initiative is being launched in West Sussex in an attempt to reduce the number of pedal cycle thefts in town centres and other hot spot areas across the county.
Operation Velo is a new way of marking and registering bikes, and Sussex Police will be hosting free events at advertised locations where officers will be on hand to mark, register and offer advice about the best way to secure cycles.
Sgt Chris Pipkin, who has set up the initiative, said: “The operation will initially take place across Chichester, Bognor, Littlehampton and Worthing & Adur districts.
“Each bicycle will be given a unique marking – which is permanent and indelible – and the owner’s details will be registered on a national database, much like that which is used for cars and motorbikes. Officers will be able to check within minutes if a bicycle is stolen or in the wrong hands.”
The new system will enable officers to stop a cyclist at the side of the road and check for a unique mark. A call to the control room, or by connecting to www.bikeregister.com, will allow them to check the status of a bike as well as the details of the person registered to it.
“The aim is that potential thieves will be put off from stealing in the first place, knowing that they are more likely to get stopped and the bicycle will be traceable back to the owner,” added Sgt Pipkin. “Officers will also be able to reunite more people with their lost or stolen bicycles as they will be registered on the database.
“Cyclists will be able to come along to the events and speak to the team about registering their bicycle and to get advice about different types of locks as well as where to leave their bicycle and – more importantly – where not to leave it.”
The public will be able to find out about events by following Sussex Police’s Operation Velo on Facebook and via Twitter on @sussex_police. The events will also be publicised in the local media.