Sharp drop in cycling fines issued by police in Cambridgeshire

A cyclist being fined in Bridge Street
A cyclist being fined in Bridge Street
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Police have denied turning a blind eye to cycling offences despite the number of fines issued by the force plummeting over the last four years.

According to figures obtained by The Times, Cambridgeshire Constabulary has seen the number of fixed penalties issued to cyclists drop from 739 in 2012 to 49 last year.

A police spokesman said: “As with all figures of this kind it’s very difficult to give one definitive reason.

“One may be our priorities, which are safeguarding the vulnerable, burglary, anti-social behaviour, domestic violence etc, and with finite resources we have to deploy officers in a way that tackles these areas most effectively.

“So we may have taken officers away from proactively tackling cycling offences to dealing with the aforementioned crimes.

“Also, we have had a ‘lights instead of tickets’ scheme for some years now where we take a more educatory approach and give people without lights a chance to get some lights and prove it, in place of getting a ticket straight away.

“Having said this, we’re not turning a blind eye and any cyclists committing offences will be dealt with by officers in the most appropriate way.”

In Peterborough, the city council is pushing through a Public Space Protection Order which will allow its staff to hand out fines for cyclists who breach the Bridge Street ban.

The seven-day ban between 9am and 6pm is regularly breached by cyclists without fines being issues.

Council leader Councillor John Holdich has promised a “zero tolerance approach” once the order is in place.

Fines handed out by police in Peterborough over the last four years are not available.

A police spokesman said a further Freedom of Information request would need to be submitted to obtain the figures.

MP for Peterborough Stewart Jackson said: “I understand the point of view of the police and that resources only go so far but this sends out a very bad message to rogue cyclists.

“I think the city council need to sit down with Cambridgeshire Constabulary and work out a proper robust policy for dealing with an issue which is at best a nuisance and at worst a real danger to pedestrians in the city centre.”

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