Security marking and police tagging for bikes

A Design Against Crime stand by Bikeoff


Many insurance companies will ask you to security mark your cycle.

Even if you don’t insure your cycle this is a good idea, as it means you have full record of your cycle on file somewhere, which could help you to prove it is yours if it is stolen and then found by the police.

The most important thing to keep a note of is your frame number as this is unique to your bicycle.

Your frame number will usually be stamped on the underneath of your bottom bracket, which is where the pedals are attached, or on the rear fork ends where the back wheel slots in.

It’s a good idea to keep a photograph of your bike with a note of details like frame number, model number, make, colour, and any special details.

Getting your bicycle visibly security marked and registered acts as a deterrent to potential cycle thieves as they know your bike is traceable, and reduces your chances of being a victim of cycle theft. And, if it should be stolen, registered bicycles and far more likely to be reunited with their rightful owners.

London’s police agencies often hold free cycle marking and registration days.  Find out where and when the next events are:

There re several tagging and registration schemes available.   The Metropolitan Police use , other providers include and (Immobilise currently charges the public for searches whcih may discourage internet buyers from making sure the don't buy stolen bikes). 

Schemes like Bikeregister allow you to register for free. This means you can upload your bike model, frame number and photo to a website  that the police routinely check when they reterive stolen or found bicycles. Bike Register, and others, also offer a paid premium service (although police marking events usually offer this service at no cost) which includes etching a number onto your bike (without harming the paintwork) that the police can read using a small UV pen. By checking in with the database police can immediately identify a stolen bike assuming you have noted the bike as stolen on the relevant website.  A sticker on your bike shows potential thieves that your bike is security marked and will be less attractive to buyers.    

Some police stations will stamp your postcode and house number or name onto your bike and keep an electronic record of your details.

You can also use ultra-violet markings as police can check for these when stolen bikes are found. The attraction of using the Bike Register marking system in London is that all Met. stations have the right kit and database access to check bike marked using this system.  Call local police stations in your area to find out when and where they will next be markling bikes - most should list these events on the webite noted above.  

Putting in place decent security measures is essential. For more useful information on cycling in London sign up to recieve our newsletter

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