CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Police to crack down on pavement cyclists

'Criminals using innocent members of the public as their camouflage'

04 February, 2020 — By Samantha Booth

Raj Kohli

CYCLISTS riding on pavements could be given a fine, as police seek to clamp down on phone snatchers who have started using pedal cycles instead of mopeds.

Chief Superintendent Raj Kohli said cyclists who chooses to ride on pavements – which is technically illegal – in the borough will be ticketed.

This is a response to a spike in offenders moving on to pedal cycles, following a crackdown on moped bandits who snatched valuables from pedestrians.

As the New Journal has previously reported, police are already riding foldable electric bikes to try and clamp down on the new “stealth” tactic including in Bloomsbury.

Chief Supt Kohli told the Camden Safer Neighbourhood Board on Monday night: “I’ve already re-profiled our response to pedal-enabled robbery.If any of you choose to cycle on a pavement in Camden, you will get a ticket and someone will say ‘why are you ticketing me, innocent members of public cycling on the pavement?’ Because in amongst innocent members of the public cycling on the pavement, are criminals using innocent members of the public as their camouflage.”

Ch. Supt Kohli on one of Camden police’s new ‘Brompton’ bikes

Speaking at the Crowndale Centre, he added: “This is not about pursuing the innocent member of the public, this is about setting the standards for how we want to live, work and play in this borough.”

Three years ago, police said they would stop punishing cyclists on pavements in Primrose Hill so they could investigate the conditions that led them to leave the road, an idea that split opinion.

Chief Supt Kohli’s office said at this stage it is a “tactic option” and is at the “very early stages of development”.

Also at the meeting, he shared how in the first four months of a new police operation – called Operation Deep, aimed at those at the top of gangs and drugs violence after three murder investigations in five days in September – has resulted in 174 arrests, 61 knives and seven firearms seized. In 2019, total knife crime offences increased to 581 from 542 the previous year.

The number of knife crimes where the victim is under 25 years has decreased to 60 offences from 77. And while there was a decrease in the total crimes of violence that resulted in injury by 306 offences, where the victim was aged 1 to 19 in youth violence, this increased to 523 offences compared to 487 the year before.

Chief Supt Kohli said: “Things are too high, they have gone up, but compared to our most similar families across London, we are in a better place, but not a great place.”

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