over 536,000 bikes are stolen every year totalling an annual cost to cyclists £140 million with a current recovery rate less than 4%.
If the police release the frame numbers of bikes reported to them as stolen for general searches, it will go a long way in stopping the trade of stolen bikes. It would also drastically increase the risk for bike thieves attempting to sell stolen bikes. There have been petitions in the past calling on eBay to get frame numbers from people selling bikes but that won't help unless a list of stolen ones is also published for members of the public and large marketplaces like ebay to check frame numbers against.
Some police forces already release this information but they do it directly to a company called Immobilise, who then charge cyclists to check the frame numbers via their CheckMend service.
This seems wrong to me, it should be free for cyclists buying used bikes to check to see if what they are buying is stolen. I want the police to openly release this data ideally through the Police API, which would result in many developers creating free to use services to check it.
In the ideal world where everyone records their frame numbers and everyone checks them when buying used, this would virtually stop the trade in stolen bikes overnight.
This way of thinking has already had an impact in Canada, where it is completely free to check police records for a majority of stolen goods.
For this to happen each individual Police Forces Chief Constable needs to agree to supply the data. I'm already working with teams in the Home Office towards this goal and this petition gives me the ability to say that this is what cyclists want.
Many thanks for signing,
Stolen Bikes UK