In response to a recent article in the Guardian, Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate Cheney Payne is calling on the government to provide targeted funding to support police investigations into the surging cases of bike theft in Cambridge. The Liberal Democrats shared the figures that Cambridgeshire is the fifth worth county in the country for identifying suspects in cases of bike theft, with 91% of bike thefts resulting in no further action. To Cambridge residents, these figures will be disappointing but unsurprising, as the ONS revealed last year that Cambridge recorded double the number of stolen bikes than the country’s second worst-hit city, Oxford. The Cambridge Cycling Campaign reported that in 2020, bike theft cost residents the staggering total of £315,000.
Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate Cheney Payne said: “Cambridge is clearly a hot spot for bike theft, but it is really worrying to see the failure to bring the culprits to justice. Bike theft causes a litany of problems, from inconvenience to personal risk for the victims. There is also the brutal reality that bike theft costs Cambridge residents thousands of pounds every year and is often a “gateway” to other more serious crimes, with bikes stolen then sold to fund drug addiction and fuel organised crime gangs. Failing to address bike theft is also failing the individuals who have fallen into a life of organised crime and drug misuse, because the opportunity for early intervention from key professionals is missed. There are so many competing demands on the police at the moment that it is clear they simply do not have the time or funds available to give bike theft the attention it deserves. The lack of government investment in our police means crime is spiralling: when “petty” crimes such as bike theft are not addressed, they quickly escalate into more serious incidents, leaving the police swamped".
Cheney suggested this course of action to respond to these findings.
“The government needs to prioritise specific funding for areas with the lowest levels of suspects identified, to allow for monitoring of CCTV and proper investigation when bike thefts are reported. I would also like to see more investment in secure cycle storage particularly at places like the train stations and around the market square, and a concerted effort for people to register their bikes with the police".
Ultimately, the government’s failure to “be tough on crime” is costing residents thousands of pounds a year in unaddressed theft, and highlights the importance of investing in community policing so petty theft does not become total chaos”.