Petitioning UK Police Forces Chief Constables

Make frame numbers of stolen bikes searchable


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.

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 various teams towards this goal and this petition gives me the ability to say that this is what cyclists want.

Many thanks for signing,
John Moss
Stolen Bikes UK

Letter to
UK Police Forces Chief Constables
Please help put a stop to bike theft by releasing the frame numbers of stolen bikes recorded by your police force.

Personal Crime (of which bike theft is a part of) is one of the only crime categories in the UK to be currently rising. With the annual value of bikes stolen in England and Wales totalling over £140 million and a recovery rate at a pitiful 4%.

In addition when you take into account that 1 in 4 bike theft victims give up cycling you're quickly looking at a crime that is costing the nation over £1 billion every year, so I don’t think it’s possible to argue that bike theft is a trivial matter.

What we are asking you to do would dramatically help the public in identifying when they are being offered a stolen bike, raising recovery rates and making it far more difficult for thieves to sell stolen bikes.