On the 5th of September 2013 I observed Cambridge’s West Central Area Committee where councillors have the opportunity to hold the police to account for their performance and get to democratically set the local police priorities. During the policing agenda item the following exchange occurred:
Cllr John Hipkin (Castle, Independent): There’s this kind of culture in Cambridge that bike theft is OK. You know it’s a kind of public property that we can interchange quite freely.
Sergeant Jayne Drury of Cambridgeshire Police: There are a number of factors which come into it. One is yes you are right people do seem to accept bike theft in Cambridge. We deal with lots of people who will say I stole that bike because somebody stole mine and I thought that was all right. People tend to think that is acceptable. Some people.
Cycle theft is no less serious than other theft.
Cycle theft is not a trivial crime. Bikes are often expensive pieces of kit; and there can be significant costs and inconvenience following having one stolen. For many in Cambridge, including me, a bike is our primary form of transport.
Bike theft is a major problem in the city.
Councillors set “bike theft and dangerous cycling” as one of their priorities; though without giving the police any pointers as to what they considered “dangerous cycling” and what exactly it was they wanted tackling.
To address bike theft councillors suggested better education of new students and educational material in Cambridge Matters magazine.
Councillors were particularly keen to warn the public that the seasonal bike theft peak is approaching in Cambridge; they appeared to expect the peak would occur despite them setting their priority.