The Met has launched a proactive operation in response to an increase in bicycle-enabled crime in London.
The three-month operation, named Operation Gilera, will be focused on the Met’s Central West and Central North Basic Command Units made up of the boroughs of Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Camden and Islington respectively.
It will run alongside the Met’s already successful Operation Venice – the organisation’s response to moped-enabled crime. In July 2017, at the peak of moped-enabled offending in London there were a total of 2,593 offences.
Since the inception of Operation Venice – launched in direct response to this rise - officers have almost halved the number of crimes carried out using a moped, scooter or motorcycle – there has been a reduction of 42.5% Dec 2017 – Nov 2018 (15,168 offences) and Dec 2018 – Nov 2019 (8,721 offences).
The Met is now seeing an increase in offences, including robbery, being carried out using pedal cycles. However, the numbers are not as high as moped-enabled crime, and the operation is being launched now in order to arrest and deter this type of crime.
In the 12 months to 9 February, the Met’s Central North BCU saw a 70.5% increase in pedal cycle robbery (404 offences to 689 offences) and Central West BCU saw a 95.6% increase (180 offences compared to 352 offences).
In the same period, there was a 68.5% rise in the number of personal robbery offences where the suspect was riding a pedal cycle across the Met (1,380 offences compared to 2,325 offences).
Detective Chief Inspector Shaun White, the operational lead for Op Gilera, said: “This operation has been set up as our response to tackle, arrest and prosecute those who think that they can use push bikes to rob pedestrians going about their daily business.
“The suspects are using the same tactics that criminals were using in the summer of 2017, when we saw a peak of moped-enabled crime, prompting us to launch Operation Venice. Venice had significant successes and, as such, it appears criminals now think that they can use pedal cycles instead to evade police. They are wrong.
“Specially trained riders from Op Venice will be patrolling hotspot areas alongside pedal cycle officers and pursuit cars from Op Gilera. They have the equipment and specialist ability to quickly pursue criminals attempting to flee an incident, and target those believed to be committing robberies and thefts.”
Since the launch of Operation Gilera, officers have executed a number of warrants to arrest those involved in pedal cycle robbery. Five warrants were executed in the first week in Central North BCU which resulted in six people being arrested.
DCI White, added: “While we will be working hard to tackle pedal cycle robbers, we will also be asking the public to remain vigilant and keep their possessions out of view from criminals.”
To reduce the chances of becoming a victim of street robbery, the advice is:
- Stay aware of your surroundings and pay attention to who’s around you.
- Keep valuables such as mobile phones, watches and cash out of sight where possible.
- Plan your route home, and stay on busy well-lit streets where possible.
For more street robbery crime prevention advice, visit https://www.met.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/personal-robbery/
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