LCC secures deal with Met Police for donated bikes
LCC has recently secured an agreement from the Metropolitan Police whereby abandoned bikes in their possession, the owners of which cannot be traced, will be released to LCC for use in community projects.
Pool bikes for community groups
Some police stations already have a local agreement with groups in certain boroughs, but this latest agreement should pave the way for more bikes to be put back into the community for use by groups. However, as Belinda Sinclair, LCC Community Cycling officer points out, this is not a source of free bikes per se and there are certain protocols that must be observed.
"Disregarding existing local police arrangements, any requests for police donations should come to me because to make this work, we really need to keep it as simple as possible."
"There are some legal requirements to observe, and the easiest way to ensure that they are complied with is to route the whole scheme through one person, and for now, that will be me."
LCC will only allocate these bikes to groups on the basis that they will be kept as pool bikes for use in their group and/or community, and cannot give them to individuals.
In essence, these bikes are a community resource for use by and in the community, and any donation will most likely be of around ten bikes maximum. This doesn’t preclude multiple donations to the same group – each request will be considered on the basis of their intended use and transport requirements.
What happens with the bikes?
It is also important to note that once bikes have been donated, they become the responsibility of the receiving group.
As the bikes have been stored in the police station yard for three months before release, most of them do require some work to restore them to roadworthy condition. Whilst LCC does its best to select those most suitable for immediate use, the responsibility for fixing the bikes rests with the recipients, not LCC or the police.
In the beginning
The initial idea to donate police bikes to LCC for use in community groups came from the police with the aim to establish links within the community through bikes.
Community cycling officer Belinda had already managed a pilot scheme with Kingston Police before joining LCC.
"I was working for Kingston Council then, and by dealing with Kingston police direct, I established a reliable, minimum fuss system of selection and removal from the police yard, which allowed us to supply bikes to various community projects such as the Kingston Refugee Action Group and a couple of schools where children were missing out on Bikeability training because they didn’t have a bike."
When Belinda moved to LCC, she adapted the scheme for Merton Council working with Wimbledon Police, and Merton Police soon realised the potential for all London boroughs and community groups.
How to request a donated bike from LCC
Any requests for bikes should be accompanied with the intended recipient project and group details, the number of bikes required, and the approximate size of the rider – eg small child, large adult. Once bikes have been allocated, the recipient project nominee must undertake to collect them from LCC at a time and date agreed with LCC, and accept that any failure to do so could result in that project paying for disposal and additional storage.
For further details, you can contact the community team through the form below.