Police and Ofo join forces to target bike-enabled crime

Katherine Johnston (23 October, 2018) Crime

'We have been retrieving misused bikes and prosecuting people who have damaged and stolen them'

25976Stolen Ofo bikes seized by police

Criminals using stolen dockless bicycles are facing a police crack-down as officers start working with Ofo to help reduce crime.

Inspector Owen Pyle told the News he is holding the first joint meeting between police and dockless bike company Ofo this week as the two start working together to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour across the borough.

Although Inspector Pyle says crime is not rising due to dockless bikes and other cycle hire schemes, some crimes are being committed by people riding stolen bikes with their tracking systems damaged.

Around ten stolen Ofo bikes and more than fifteen stolen TfL hire bikes have been cluttering police stations across Southwark, with many more still missing, or turning up in lakes and canals across London.

“We have been retrieving misused bikes and prosecuting people who have damaged and stolen them,” Inspector Pyle said.

“We are looking to increase our working relationship with Ofo and other bike operators.

“Tuesday afternoon will be our first meeting focused on preventing crime and anti-social behaviour from happening.”

As the News has reported, Ofo is ‘scaling back’ its operation in Peckham, Camberwell, and other areas in the south of the borough after a spate of muggings and anti-social behaviour committed by people on dockless bikes.

A spokesperson from Ofo had confirmed to the News:  “We are focusing on the north of the borough during the winter period where we see highest use and the least amount of misuse.”

Southwark Council is working with London Councils and TfL to create a code of conduct for cycling operators.

It is also campaigning for a new bylaw which would mean they need to apply for a licence to operate within a local authority’s area.

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