Simon Nuttall talked to Ellen Muirhead, Crime Reduction Officer, about Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s Operation Cyclone at the recent Sustrans 10 in 10 celebration.
Simon Nuttall: What are the aims of Operation Cyclone?
Ellen Muirhead: The principal aim is to bring down theft of cycles and theft of parts of bikes.
SN: It says ‘Reducing Cycle Crime in Cambridge.’ What do you mean by that?
EM: Although there are other crimes to do with bikes, e.g. snatches of handbags from baskets, we shall be focusing on Theft of Pedal Cycles.
SN: How do you plan to implement Operation Cyclone?
EM: A team of Officers have been assigned, led by Detective Sergeant Martin Brunning, with assistance from several Detective Constables. Recovered cycles will be separated into those that have been abandoned and those that appear to have been stolen.
Photos of the stolen bikes will be posted onto the police website at www.cambs.police.uk/camops/recovered/cycles/. When a bike theft is reported, officers have been asked to record extra details about the theft and to make greater use of intelligence reports during the operation. The bike marking will be promoted as much as possible. There has already been some success arising from targeted use of CCTV in the city centre. Last weekend several suspects were arrested.
SN: Over what time period will Operation Cyclone be run?
EM: For six months from 17 October.
SN: How is the operation going to be promoted?
EM: There will be a new section on the police website, and through events like these.
SN: Who is involved?
EM: As well as the Operation Cyclone team itself, all police officers will be encouraged to treat cycle theft seriously and systems will be put in place to make dealing with cycle crime easier, more thorough and more effective in returning cycles to their owners, and catching and prosecuting cycle thieves.
SN: What other agencies are involved?
EM: Cambridge City Council are here supporting the event and Cambridge Station Cycles are here selling locks, lights and helmets at discounted prices.
SN: I notice there appears to be an emphasis on helmet wearing. Why is this?
EM: It’s because I’ve fallen off my bike twice recently and I felt the helmet protected me.
SN: What about promoting secure cycle parking?
EM: Well there’s no money in the operation to spend on that. But perhaps we should be building a cycle park e.g. under Market Square. The Grand Arcade will feature a cycle park and the force’s Architectural Liaison officer has had some input into that.
SN: What can or should the public be doing to help?
EM: Consider where you park, always lock your bike with a strong lock, have your bikes security coded, and keep a record of the frame number and detailed description for every bike. If you have a cycle stolen, report it as soon as possible and check the web site for the bike.