Police: “You must have stolen that bike, you’re not in Lycra”

I wouldn’t normally find myself reading the Daily Mail but I was amused by a little article from last week.

Cyclist Tim Burton was riding his road bike and pulled over by Avon & Somerset Police.  Apparently he was wearing scruffy jeans and a tee shirt, not the Lycra you might normally expected.  This was enough for the Police to pull him over and quiz him about the ownership of the bike, on the basis that he must have stolen the bike.  Another factor was that he wasn’t even wearing a helmet.

Once the road-side grilling had taken place and the Police were satisfied he was the true owner, he was a free man to cycle away.  Before he went, the Police Officer, PC James, did dig himself out of a possible hole by explaining that “bike thefts are a priority for us in this area as we’ve had a number of garage and shed break-ins.  And I’m a cyclist myself and it was unusual to see an expensive bike ridden by someone in non-cycling clothes and without a helmet”.

This is all very well and I’m sure this was the right thing to do in the circumstances.  It also sounds like Tim Burton, the cyclist, accepted the situation without getting irate with the Police.  BUT when you hear stories of the Police and Crown Prosecution Service being so reluctant to pursue motorists who have created a cyclist victim, one does question whether the priorities are completely correct for the police.  After all, often suggesting a prosecution is not “in the public interest” is frequently a pathetic excuse.  That is also “a load of old cobblers” as we sometimes suggest in legal circles.

So a funny article, masking a more serious aspect of Policing.  Whether such an article justifies almost half a page in the Daily Mail is questionnable from a journalistic and legal perspective.  I doubt it but then I’m not exactly a regular Daily Wail reader!

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