London bike theft ‘effectively decriminalised’ as over 90% of cases left unsolved


More than 90 per cent of reported bike thefts in London were left unsolved in 2022 with critics saying the crime has been “effectively decriminalised”.

According to figures obtained by the Lib Dems, 15,899 (93 per cent) of bike thefts reported to the Met were left unsolved last year - four per cent higher than the national average.

Of the 18,315 reported to the Met last year, just 136 resulted in a charge or a person being summonsed, making London’s police force the fourth worst for the total number of cases closed in the country, behind only Sussex, Hampshire and the British Transport Police.

Liberal Democrats Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said: “For many Londoners, their bike is their prized possession, being used to commute, for exercise or to enjoy family days out.

“Yet, Home Office Ministers seem content to let tens of thousands of thefts go unsolved every year.

“These figures show the Conservative Government is effectively decriminalising bike theft in our local communities.

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

Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has pledged to restore trust and faith in the force.

However he said officers could never “turn up to every single crime, and the public understand that”.

“But something as severe as burglary needs a proper policing response. It’s too serious an intrusion not to have somebody turn up.”

A Met Police spokesperson said: “The Metropolitan Police Service takes every incident of bicycle theft seriously and recognises the distress this crime causes its victims. We are also aware that for many, this can be a main form of transport and can therefore greatly disrupt their everyday lives.

“When a report is received officers will carry out every reasonable line of enquiry to recover the property and bring any suspect to justice.

“Anyone who owns a bicycle is urged to get it security marked and registered at BikeRegister – this helps officers return stolen property to its rightful owner, and it also helps to bring prosecutions.”