Bike theft faces being ‘decriminalised’ as nearly 9 in 10 thefts go unsolved

7 Jun 2023

EMBARGO: Immediate Release

New analysis commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed that in 2022, 65,809 bike theft cases across England and Wales were closed without a suspect being identified - a shocking 89% of total reported cases. 

Meanwhile, the Home Office statistics show only 1,245 bike thefts reported last year resulted in a suspect being charged or summonsed - just 1.7% (1,245) of the total 73,979 cases recorded.

9 police forces across England and Wales saw over 9 in 10 (90%) of bike thefts go unsolved. The worst performing areas with the highest number of unsolved bike thefts were Sussex (95.8%), the Met Police (93.7%), the West Midlands (93.2%) and Hampshire (92.8).

The Liberal Democrats warned these figures showed the Government are effectively ‘decriminalising’ bike theft, letting criminals off the hook for the robbery of thousands of pounds worth of property. 

The party has accused the Conservative Government of neglecting neighbourhood policing. Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) numbers have also plummeted under the Conservative Party’s watch, with over 4,000 PCSOs being taken off the streets since 2015.

Liberal Democrats are calling for a return to proper community policing, where officers are visible and trusted, with the time to focus on tackling local crime. 

Commenting on the figures, Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Olney who commissioned the research said: 

“Theft is such a personal and terrible crime. To see so many go unsolved across our communities is a tragedy.

“These figures show the Government is effectively decriminalising bike theft in our local communities - and ministers in Westminster seem content to let it continue.

“We need to see a return to proper community policing, making our streets safer and ending this free-for-all for criminals.” 


Notes to Editors: 

Bike theft statistics from the House of Commons Library can be seen here.




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