52 police bikes stolen in 10 years
Over 50 police bicycles have been stolen across the West Midlands during the past decade, new figures have revealed.
Data from West Midlands Police show that, in total, over 30,000 bicycles have been stolen across the region in the past ten years, with 52 taken from the police, the Coventry Telegraph reports.
Some of the thefts may be down to decoy cycles planted by officers in a bid to catch bike thieves, but the force admitted it does not know how many were lost in this way and how many were taken from officers.
Last year, West Midlands Police received almost 3,500 reports of bike thefts, the highest figure of the past decade. The rise suggests incidents are on the rise, so owners may want to consider taking out a cycle insurance policy as protection in the event of their machine being stolen.
The total number of bikes returned to their rightful owners in the past ten years was 2,366 – less than eight per cent of those reported stolen – so chances of a cycle being recovered appear slim.
George Riches of Coventry's Cyclic cycling campaign told the newspaper the number of thefts from police shows officers "can't be giving very good advice to people if they can't prevent their own bikes from being stolen".
Many of the thefts were reported around railway stations and universities and Mr Riches urged police to step up patrols in areas where bike thieves are known to be in operation.
"Places where it's known bicycles will be attract the more sophisticated thieves," he observed.
Investing in heavy-duty locks can help prevent thieves from taking a bike, while registering it with a tracking service increases the chance of it being returned if it is stolen and then recovered by police.
One bike thief to get a prison sentence for his actions is 25-year-old Lloyd Brown of Moseley Street, Burton, who was handed a six-week term for failing to comply with a probation order following the theft of a bicycle last November.