In the UK, a bicycle is stolen every minute and fewer than 5% of those are returned to their owners. Our guidance below tells you how to keep your bike safe as well as what to do if it is stolen.
Immobilise is the world's largest free register of possession ownership details and forms a very effective tool in helping to reduce crime and repatriate recovered personal property to its rightful owners.
Immobilise can be used by members of the public and businesses to register their valued possessions or company assets, and exclusive to Immobilise all account holders registered items and ownership details are viewable on the Police national property database the NMPR.
As a direct result of Immobilise there are hundreds of cases a week where property is returned or information collected that assists the Police in investigating criminal activity involving stolen goods.
Securing your bicycle
- When not using your bike always secure it using a sturdy bike lock. Double D locks are the most effective and we recommend that you spend a quarter of the bike's value on a decent lock or chain.
- If leaving your bike in public, lock it to something secure like a bike rack or lamppost. If there are no bike racks, contact your local council to ask if they can put some in. If you chain it to railings, make sure it's not causing an obstruction for pedestrians or other road users. If you can, lock your bike at recognised secure cycle parking - it should be well lit and covered by CCTV.
- If possible, lock the frame and both wheels to the cycle parking stand.
- Make the lock and bike difficult to manoeuvre when parked - keep the lock away from the ground and keep the gap between the bike and lock small. This makes it much harder to cut through.
- When parking your bike at home try to keep it out of public view in a secure shed or garage.
- Any removable items such as lights or pumps should be taken with you when you park your bike.
Bicycle marking and insurance
- Most bikes are engraved with a serial or frame number. This is often found beneath their bottom bracket but can sometimes be found in other places on the frame. When purchasing a bike, always take a note of the serial number. This could help us return it to you if it is stolen and then recovered.
- Consider paying for an ImmobiTag. This is a radio frequency identification tag (RFID) that is embedded into the frame of the bike. This allows the police to view the registered owner’s details and the bike’s status on our systems. For more information on ImmobiTags visit the ImmobiTag website.
- Take out insurance, either by extending your home contents insurance or through a separate policy.
Keep an eye out on the internet and social media too for details of local cycle marking events with your neighbourhood policing team - this can make it much easier to recover your bike if it should be stolen.
There are occasions when the council may remove a bicycle that has been left static for a long period of time and reported as abandoned by local residents. If a bike is removed by the council without any security markings or tags it may be disposed of or donated to charity.