Sergeant Jo Stephens and officers at the event held at the Here East campus on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (credit: Metropolitan Police)
The Metropolitan Police’s Central East Command Unit teamed up with the charity Pro Bike Service CIC to hold the event on Monday, 26 and Tuesday, 27 April.
More than 100 bikes were given to staff at Barts Health NHS Trust at the Here East technology and innovation campus on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Pro Bike Service CIC serviced and repaired the bicycles for free. Representatives from Bike Register and Sold Secure also provided security locks and helped register staff members and their bikes on the National Cycle Database.
The bicycles, which are all believed to have been stolen, have been in police storage for a considerable amount of time. They would have otherwise been left unused and eventually scrapped.
Sergeant Jo Stephens from the Central East Command Unit said: “Sadly, efforts to trace the owners of these bicycles have been without success, or no-one has ever come forward to claim them. Some of the bikes have been in storage for years.
“The project came about after we publicised a warrant we executed in Hackney in 2020 where hundreds of stolen bikes were recovered. Those are not the ones that are being given away here, but we were contacted on the back of the publicity by Pro Bike Service CIC with an idea for re-distributing old bikes in long-term storage.
“It seemed like a great idea to give them to people and for them to be put to good use again.”
Lawrence Mohammed, who’s the founder of the Pro Bike Service CIC charity, said: “I believe it’s vital we tackle crime at multiple levels, from early intervention with disadvantaged children, restorative justice and effective rehabilitation for offenders, to prevention through bike marking and the return of stolen bikes where possible.
“Where we are based, on the Olympic Park, has seen rapid regeneration, creating a much more diverse community. If the original community isn’t given an opportunity to become asset holders this can cause tension and damages community cohesion. I built Pro Bike Service in this community to be in service and help solve some of these challenges.
“When I saw the work Jo and her team were doing I thought it aligned really well with our guiding principles. We had already gifted our entire bicycle stock to the NHS staff at Newham, Whipps Cross, Royal London and Homerton hospitals in 2020, so this seemed like an opportunity to do even more to help support those on the frontline who support us.
“All of the bikes gifted need servicing, repair and new parts to be brought back to their former glory and the number of bikes the Met have secured exceeded my expectations. As a result, I am now calling on other bike shops to offer their support to this initiative.
“We are delighted to be working with the police and Here East to facilitate this initiative, which has the potential to become an ongoing model for an inclusive, empowered, resilient and regenerative economy.”
Gavin Poole, CEO of Here East, said: “We were delighted to be contacted about the project and were very happy to offer the use of our venue and resources for this project.
“It has always been a top priority for us to make a positive contribution to our east London community and offer our support where we can for local initiatives.
“This is a fantastic project which gives back to our frontline workers and we’re proud to be contributing to the scheme.”
Andrew Attfield, Associate Director of Public Health at Barts Health NHS Trust said: “Barts Health staff are incredibly grateful to the Metropolitan Police and Pro Bike Service CIC for organising this contribution.
“If you’ve ever had your bike stolen or borrowed without your permission, you’ll know how upsetting it can be.
“Here’s where you’ll find advice on keeping your bike safe and out of the hands of thieves – as well as what to do to try to get it back if it is stolen.”
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