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Nextbike and the police step out in tandem to tackle Cardiff cycle crime

nextbike’s Andy Barnes (left) and Craig Standage (right) with PCSO Surinder Taak of South Wales Police

Leading bike share operator nextbike and South Wales Police have been stepping out in tandem to help prevent cycle crime in Cardiff city centre.

Police officers have joined nextbike’s maintenance teams on foot patrols around Cardiff to learn more about the OVO Bikes scheme and how to spot misuse of the system.

Nextbike was forced to temporarily remove the OVO Bikes scheme last November after a spate of vandalism and thefts.

Since the scheme’s reintroduction in January this year, nextbike has been working closely with various other groups in the area, including the police, to tackle the issue.

Cardiff and Vale service manager Mark Atkins said the joint patrols, which take place once a week in the city centre, were proving useful for both parties.

“It’s fantastic to be working so closely with the police to help reduce cycle crime on the streets of Cardiff. We’re already working closely with them thanks to our involvement in the Cardiff Cycle Crime ReductionPartnership, but this extra level of partnership working is very welcome,” he said.

“For us, having a visible police presence with the maintenance team sends a clear message that the issues are being taken seriously and that we won’t tolerate the antisocial behaviour we saw taking place before.

“For the police, the patrols are useful because our team is able to explain how the system works and what sort of problems we’ve been facing. They’re then able to identify bikes that may have been stolen or damaged, and they’re aware of what misuse of the fleet looks like so they’re able to intervene as and when necessary.”

Mr Atkins added: “While the joint initiative is fantastic, we need the continued support of the local community to ensure the scheme is a success. By ensuring people use the scheme correctly and returning bikes to official stations, it will make it harder for thieves and vandals to damage or steal them.”

Sergeant Gareth Davies, from South Wales Police, said: “The new joint patrols act as a deterrent to anyone thinking of misusing the OVO Bikes scheme and enable us to gather information on where there are issues.

“It is already proving to be effective – on Monday, March 28 a 40-year-old man was reported for theft by finding after he was stopped in Park Place on a nextbike which he had not legitimately rented.

“It is fantastic to have the bikes back on the streets, and we are committed to working with nextbike and the local authority to protect the scheme and prevent vandalism and thefts.” 

Anyone who witnesses vandalism or theft occurring should call 999, while members of the public who want to report an abandoned bike can report it at www.nextbike.co.uk/en/cardiff/report-a-bike/ or using nextbike’s social media channels.