LONDON, England – The Liberal Democrats claimed that bike theft has effectively been ‘decriminalised’, with more than 365,000 cases going unsolved in the last five years, according to official crime data. The party stated that an average of 200 bicycle thefts a day took place without the culprit being apprehended, amounting to 89% of all bike thefts over the period. Only 2% of cases led to a suspect being charged.
The party’s home affairs spokesman, Alistair Carmichael MP, called for a return to ‘proper community policing’. He expressed concern over the neglect under the Conservative government, stating that it has emboldened criminals and left frontline police officers without the resources needed to investigate crimes like bike theft properly. Last week, it was reported that police abandon investigations into four crimes every minute without tracking down the culprits, prompting serious questions about whether the taxpayer is getting value for money for the multi-billion-pound sums injected into policing by the Government.
The official Home Office figures revealed that forces gave upon investigations into 2,306,623 reported crimes in the year to June, including hundreds of thousands of violent offenses and burglaries, up 13% on the previous 12 months. The Home Office’s ‘police uplift’ program saw the number of officers in England and Wales jump from 129,110 at the end of March 2020 to 147,430 in March last year. The Home Office spent £3.6 billion up to last March on an election pledge to hire 20,000 police officers, and it expects to spend a further £18.5 billion on the wage bill over the next decade.
These shocking figures have left people wondering if bike theft has been decriminalized. Victims of bike thefts feel both out of pocket and distressed, and knowing the thief will probably get away with it just adds salt into the wound. The government needs to restore community policing where police are visible in neighborhoods and can focus on solving local crimes.
In response, police minister Chris Philp criticized the Liberal Democrats and stated that the Conservatives have reduced theft offenses by 47% since 2010, including bicycle theft by 54%, and put a record number of police officers on the streets to keep communities safe. While the Liberal Democrats criticize from the sidelines, the government is taking difficult, long-term decisions to cut crime and keep people safe.