and Bicycles!

cycleIn Greater London bicycle theft has been on the increase. Follow the golden rules below to reduce the risk of theft and increase the chances of recovering your bike if it's stolen.

Register your bike

Register your bicycle model, make and frame number at Bike Register. This information will give the police a much better chance of recovering your bike if it's stolen. The Bike Register database already holds the details of thousands of bikes. Add your details now to help make your bike safer and reduce bicycle crime.

Lock your bike

If you can store your cycle inside your home or office - especially overnight - this may be the safest option. (Many insurance companies will only cover you if you store your cycle inside overnight). The next best option will normally be special secure home or office indoor cycle parking areas.

Where should you secure your bike?

  • When parking on the street it is generally best to use cycle parking stands. Avoid using "street furniture" as these may be removed by Local Authorities. Keep in mind that some posts lift out of the ground, while cycles can be lifted off shorter posts like parking regulation signs and parking meters
  • Ensure you are not blocking pavements for other users and that you are not using fixtures that have signs asking you not to secure your cycle to them (or it may be removed/double locked)  
  • It is always best to lock your cycle where it will be visible so that thieves will have less opportunity to steal or vandalise it. Avoid hiding your cycle away out of public view, which gives the thieves the time and privacy to steal it
  • Multi-storey car parks in the city often provide free cycle parking which can potentially offer greater security than on-street parking.

How should you secure your bike?

Always lock your frame and both wheels to an immovable object.

Take all accessories and easily removable parts with you, and be aware that quick release levers can make seats and wheels very easy to remove. You may need to take these with you or lock them with the bike if you have not replaced quick releases with a normal nut and bolt or specialised locking nut and bolt.

Use a good quality lock. The lock you choose should reflect the circumstances you will be locking your cycle under. The less secure the location the tougher the lock needs to be. Good advice is to spend at least 20% of the value of your cycle on a lock and preferably use two different types of lock if you are leaving your cycle for any length of time.

When using a chain to lock your cycle avoid laying it against the ground or against walls as thieves can smash the chains against these. Instead lock the chain high up around your bicycle and what you are locking to.

When using D locks (sometimes called U locks):

  • Attach your frame and back wheel (optionally taking off the front wheel or include this too) to the immobile object you are locking to so you leave a minimum of space between these. This stops thieves inserting bars or jacks into the space and levering them open
  • Buy as small a D lock as is practicable to fit around what you are locking up
  • Position the lock opening facing down so it is harder to pour substances into the lock (these can be used to eat the lock away or to glue the lock up so you can't get it open and thieves can come along later to force it open).

What locks should you use?

Lock strength can vary enormously and you generally get what you pay for. Essentially any lock can be broken, but having a lock will definitely deter opportunistic thieves and using more than one type of lock will make stealing your bike even harder.

There is a three-tier security grading system developed by Sold Secure (a non-profit making company which assesses security products) and used by many insurance companies.

At the highest level are the Gold rated locking devices. These give you maximum security but may be too bulky or expensive for the average user. The Silver and Bronze levels may be lighter and cheaper but should still offer defence against the opportunist thief. When deciding which lock to buy you need to consider how much your cycle is worth, where you will be leaving it, and how often and for how long it will be left unattended.

D lock/U lock

These are rigid steel locks in a D or U shape, generally very heavy and tough looking, though the actual strength can vary and is normally reflected in the price you pay. D locks are by no means thief-proof and are best used in combination with another form of lock.

Cable locks

Cables can vary enormously in weight and strength.  They are more flexible so can be used in situations where a D lock might not fit, but cheap versions are very easily cut through. Some heavier versions are Gold listed through the Sold Secure scheme. Thinner cables are useful in combination with other locks to secure parts like wheels or your saddle so that you don't need to remove them every time you leave your bike.  Thinner cables should not, however, be relied on as the sole locking device.

Chains and padlocks

These can be heavy and awkward to cart around, but a good quality hardened heavy-duty chain combined with a couple of very good hardened padlocks may be the strongest option available. If you need to leave your cycle locked up outside somewhere regularly you might consider leaving your chain locked there permanently (though please keep in mind inconvenience to other users).

Click locks

These are fixed to the bike near your seat post. These lock your rear wheel to the frame itself, this stops someone simply riding away on your bike. These locks should definitely only be used in combination with another good lock, so you can lock your bike to a secure immovable object.

Locking nuts to replace quick release mechanism

It is worth replacing your quick release mechanisms, which make it as easy for thieves to remove your seat or wheels as it is for you, with a safer alternative. You can use ordinary nuts and bolts which can be undone with a spanner or shifter, or nuts and bolts which fit allen keys, or you can get special locking nuts which can only be undone with a specially designed version of an allen key which is sold with the bolt. If you don't feel confident doing this yourself (some bikes will be more straight forward than others) then you should go to a bike shop to get these fitted, it is important that they are correctly fitted as you don't want your wheels coming loose as you ride along!

Lock Tips

  • When not in use, cable locks can be wrapped around the seat post. D-locks normally have special attachments to fit them to the frame, or they can be carried on a rear rack. This frees up space on the frame for other accessories
  • Keep your spare key in a safe place - you'll need it should your keys be lost or stolen.
  • Keep a note of your key number (this number will either be on the key or come with your lock when you buy it) so you can replace it if all else fails
  • Some lock manufacturers offer warranties to replace the lock if your cycle is stolen while locked with their lock. You may have to register and pay for the service.

Get Insured

An easy way to do this is to extend your home contents insurance to cover your bicycle - but make sure it covers you for thefts outside the home too. If your bicycle is particularly valuable you may need to insure it separately.

Bike marking events




We know that terrorists live among us while they are planning their attacks, the Police need your help to spot any activity or behaviour that seems odd or out of place in their local area and could be terrorist-related.  The Police want you to call them on the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 and speak to their specially trained officers.

Questions about the Hotline


ATM cash machines

The Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Card Unit (DCPCU) are warning of a new ATM fraud where criminals use an invisible ‘cash claw’, also known as a "Lebanese loop" to jam cash machines allowing them to steal customer’s money.

The ‘pre-staging’ starts when a member of the gang uses a pre-pay card to withdraw a small amount of money. 

During the transaction they insert a thin metal instrument into the cash dispenser so it sits inside the machinery on the belt, just behind the cash dispenser shutter, making it invisible to the genuine customer.

The criminal then leaves the vicinity while an associate keeps close watch until a genuine cardholder attempts a withdrawal, only for the cash to become trapped in the “claw”.

When the bewildered customer gives up and moves on the gang quickly move in to force the dispenser shutter open and remove the cash.

The deployment of the “Cash Claw” first came to the notice of the UK banking industry in April after its use had been reported in Italy, Spain, and Netherlands, and after that the UK. Confirmed cases are rising exponentially, with the most prolific offending happening across London, including the City.

Crime Prevention Officer Tony Blake, from the DCPCU, said:

“The ‘cash claw’ is just the latest attempt by small-time crime gangs to steal customer and their banks money directly out of the cash machine.

“Industry has quickly wised up to this new methodology and is working alongside us to catch those responsible and to make it much more difficult for anyone looking to follow in their footsteps.”


Be aware and keep your possessions safe

This article has been reproduced from the Metropolitan Police website for the purpose of education.

Know the facts about personal theft

Even in a city as busy and crowded as London, incidents of mugging and pickpocketing are still quite low. Knowing how and where criminals who commit these crimes operate will help you avoid falling victim to them.

Thieves frequently operate:

  • at tube stations
  • at cash machines
  • in car parks
  • around bus stations
  • in overcrowded areas, especially at rush hour.

Be aware and keep your possessions safe

  • Never leave your bags or other valuables unattended in public places.
  • Be discreet with your belongings; displaying expensive jewellery or electronic devices, like mobile phones or cameras, could attract unwanted attention.
  • Don’t make your mobile phone a moving target
  • Don’t tempt mobile phone thieves, be aware when making a call

Reduce the risk of mobile phone theft by following these simple tips:

  • Don’t leave your phone on tables in pubs or restaurants.
  • When you leave a train or tube station don’t use your phone immediately, leave it a while.
  • Don’t walk and text at the same time, you will be less aware of what is happening around you.
  • Keep calls in public places as brief as possible, the longer you talk, the more likely you are to be spotted by a potential thief.

Looks good enough to grab

Be aware of chain-snatch thieves and keep your jewellery out of sight

Snatch robberies can involve violence or theft. The chance that this will ever happen to you is quite small, but you should be aware of what you can do to keep yourself and your property safe:

  • Make sure your jewellery is not visible.
  • Plan your journey in advance.
  • Avoid dark or deserted areas late at night.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and stay alert to what’s going on around you.

Link to original article


BMW offers free security fix

Security flaw only is applicable to BMWs built before September 2011

BMW is offering a free fix to all customers concerned about a spate of high-tech thefts of the firm's cars.

Highlighted on the BBC's Watchdog programme, the technique allows thieves to program a 'blank' key so the targeted vehicle can be driven away in only a few minutes. BMW says it has been aware of the problem since September 2011, and insists that it is not confined to solely to its models.

The security flaw is applicable to BMWs built before September 2011; the company stresses that models built since are not exposed to the same risk.

BMW says it has a fix ready to install now on the X5 and X6, and that an upgrade for the rest of its range will be ready 'within the next eight weeks'.

The free fix will be carried out by BMW dealers. 'We're funding this out of a 'goodwill budget' between BMW GB and our dealer network,' a spokesman told What Car?.

Customers should call BMW's hotline on 0800 083 4397 if they want to check if their vehicle is affected, or book a car in for the modification.

By John McIlroy


Seat belt safety


Child safety video



Driving safely

This article has been reproduced from the Metropolitan Police website for the purpose of education


  • Car crime is very common. Car security devices are available at all price ranges.
  • Contact several suppliers for advice before you purchase.
  • DO NOT leave valuables in a car when it is parked.


  • Make sure that your car is kept in good running order
  • Do not put yourself at risk by running out of oil, petrol or water
  • Take the time to learn the basics of car maintenance and have you car serviced by a reputable garage
  • Consider joining a breakdown organisation as added security

Keeping in Contact

  • If you feel vulnerable travelling alone it is worth considering purchasing a mobile phone. Ensure the mobile is fully charged before setting off on long journeys or buy a car phone charger
  • Always let someone know where you are going
  • Plan your route and take a map to avoid asking strangers for directions
  • Take enough money with you for emergency phone calls and consider a phone card
  • Take the details of your breakdown organisation and membership number

Avoiding assault

  • Keep doors locked and keep handbags out of view
  • Never pick up hitchhikers
  • Avoid eye contact with aggressive or suspicious drivers
  • If you are forced to stop, keep your engine running and enough room around you to manoeuvre
  • If a driver gets out and approaches you, flash your lights and sound your horn. If you have an alarm, set it off

On the motorway

  • Call for help on an emergency phone (or mobile if you already have a contact who can assist you)
  • If you are a woman alone make sure you inform the contact of this fact
  • Return to the car, but stay on the verge/bank. Lock all doors except the passenger door nearest to you
  • Get back in and lock the door if someone pulls up. Remember that you should only stop on the hard shoulder in an emergency. If you are lost it is safer to make your way to the nearest service station, roadside restaurant or town and establish your bearings there.
  • Do not accept help from passers by. If someone approaches get into the car, lock the doors and speak through a slightly open window.

Link to original website


Get Safe Online - Rough Guide to Online Safety

Get Safe Online, in partnership with Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers and the Association of Chief Police Officers, published its new “Rough Guide to Online Safety.”  Unveiled as part of the seventh annual Get Safe Online Week 2011 (now running from 22nd-26th October 2012), the “Rough Guide to Online Safety” is a handbook outlining the main security issues and recommended protective measures for consumers and small businesses.

Forty percent of computer users have experienced virus attacks and it is estimated that over a thousand new computer viruses emerge every month, according to Get Safe Online.  With significant potential for online viruses, scams and privacy violations, the “Rough Guide to Online Safety” provides a snapshot on digital security and smart surfing for every scenario, from social networks to small business security to mobile phone usage.

“This Government takes Internet crime seriously and is working hard with businesses and the law enforcement community to keep people safe when they surf the web.  The ‘Rough Guide to Online Safety’ is an incredibly useful resource and I urge people to download it before they start their online Christmas shopping,” said James Brokenshire MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Crime and Security.

Designed for those seeking to bolster knowledge of online security and users in need of a hard-copy reference on digital safety, the guide provides security definitions as well as a view into the mind of an online criminal.

“The government and independent organisations maintain online security as a high priority and as evidenced through this collaboration we aim to inform and empower users, which we hope they use to stay smart on the latest security threats and protect themselves,” adds Stuart Hyde, Deputy Chief Constable  Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

The report also includes focus areas on social networking and online shopping, online schemes and scams, mobile issues, security resources, physical security, and what to do when security fails.

“We are excited to partner with ACPO and Get Safe Online on this guide, which helps safeguard individuals.  It provides an updated, easy to reference resource for users that will help them navigate online security challenges effectively,” said Karen Ford, head of Milton Keynes Trading Standards.   

“Typically, online criminals are in search of financial details or personal information, and the usually they access this information unbeknownst to the user.  However, just because there are security concerns when you go online doesn’t mean you need to shut off and limit your computer usage: there are a few key ways – like installing security software and creating complex passwords – that can keep you protected online,” said Tony Neate, managing director of

Get Safe Online is a joint initiative between the Government, law enforcement, leading businesses and the public sector.  Its aim is to provide computer users and small businesses with free, independent, user-friendly advice that will allow users to use the Internet confidently, safely and securely.

PDF icon GetSafeOnline_RoughGuide.pdf1.94 MB


Common Warning Signs of Online Scams


Unexpected requests for money in return for delivery of a package, often with a sense of urgency.
Requests for personal and/or financial information.
Links to misspelled or slightly altered Web-site addresses (,, etc.)
Spelling and grammatical errors or excessive use of capitalization and exclamation points.
Claims that you have won a large sum of money in a lottery or settlement.
Certificate errors or lack of SSL for sensitive activities.

Online fraud typically takes the form of fraudulent e-mails and Web sites. These forged means of communication often use corporate logos, colours and legal disclaimers to make them appear authentic.

Fraudulent E-Mails
Fraudulent e-mails are the most common avenue of online scams. A "spoofed" e-mail is one that purports to be from a reputable source in an attempt to trick you into divulging personal or account information, sending payment, or otherwise taking an action that will result in fraud. These attacks are common because they are low-tech and can be easily deployed on a massive scale. Even though the warning signs are there, "phishing" and scam e-mails continue to fool people.

Spoofed Web sites
Spoofed Web sites, like phishing e-mails, pretend to represent a reputable source, such as FedEx, when in reality they are operated by criminals attempting to commit theft. Spoofed Web sites are often used in conjunction with phishing e-mails. Spoof Web sites allow scammers to collect user-names, passwords, Social Security numbers, credit card details and more. Many spoofed sites even allow users to log in, giving them a false sense of security.

FedEx does not request, via unsolicited mail or e-mail, payment or personal information in return for goods in transit or in FedEx custody.

Most larger companies have e:mail addresses the spoof mails can be forwarded to:

If you have received a fraudulent e-mail that claims to be from FedEx, you can report it by forwarding it to



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