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Officer 'steals' bike four times in broad daylight but no-one raises alarm...

Avon & Somerset Constabulary is urging members of the public not to hesitate to call 999 if they see a bike theft being committed. The force, whose patch includes Bristol and Bath, has also released a video of an officer who played the role of a thief who was able to 'steal' a bike several times in broad daylight without anyone alerting the police.

In the YouTube film, PCSO Neil Spiring also demonstrates just how easy it is to take a bike that's been 'secured' with a cheap lock - one good yank and the bicycle is free - giving food for thought for anyone who maybe sticks a cheap cable in their jersey pocket to 'secure' their pride and joy during a cafe stop on a ride.

As the film, released as part of the force's current anti-crime initiative called Relentless clearly shows, the officer's behaviour around the bike stands attracts attention from cyclists and passers-by alike, but not one called the police - even when he was dressed in a skeleton outfit to draw maximum attention to himself.

Inspector Keith Rundle commented: "We're not suggesting that anyone become a 'have-a-go hero' but we're asking people to call 999 and report bike theft as soon as they see it happening so we can catch the bike thieves in the act."

The force has also provided video of previous operations that have shown thieves being caught in the act by undercover officers.

"We are constantly on the lookout for bike thieves but we also need the community to be vigilant and to call us if they see a crime happening," added Inspector Rundle.

"Our message today is if you see anything suspicious call 999 and let us know. The faster you let us know the more likely we are to be able to catch the thief."

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

18 comments

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Jasonnz1 [23 posts] 3 years ago
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Not surprised, I broke the key off in my lock on my bike one time by mistake outside of my work on a summers day.
Proceeded to go inside grab a hacksaw from our maintenance man's toolbox and actually hacksaw the lock off in broad daylight during lunchtime, lots of people walked past saw me doing it and not one person said a thing.

The attitude of a greater of the majority (not all) of society today to ignore these sorts of things happening to avoid confrontation or become involved is a small part of the reason why we have many problems in our communities.

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giff77 [1256 posts] 3 years ago
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As jason says, many people do not want to get involved which is a sad reflection of society now days. You will still have people who will step in. Often it just takes a shout or draw attention to what the theif is up to. On the flip side, I've been reprimanded by the emergency control room when informing of a crime being committed and my witnessing it and told I should call the station directly.

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scrapper [71 posts] 3 years ago
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The new Non-Emergency number should help overcome some of the hesitations i certainly feel in reporting minor stuff to the "Emergency services"...trouble is i cant remember what the number is , even now !

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localsurfer [202 posts] 3 years ago
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pfft, bollocks. I've done this several times only to be visited two or three days later by the police for a statement. 'Too late now mate, they've gone.'

The police need to convince that they will show up then and there.

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 3 years ago
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The last one was quite amusing, the stupid woman just watches what he does, amazing!

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OldRidgeback [2632 posts] 3 years ago
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Round our way some of the thieves are likely either to be in gangs or to be junkies looking to get their next fix. The gang kids operate in packs and confronting them isn't advisable as at least one will be carrying a knife and the crime statistics suggest they won't hold back from using a blade. The junkies may be physically weaker as a rule but may be carrying a dirty set of works. There have been cases of people being stabbed with one of these and then having a very anxious six months while they wait to see if they're HIV positive, although to be honest the biggest risk would be from Hepatitis B or C. I'm not sure I agree that people not wanting to get involved is a sad refection of society these days as I remember the bad old days of the 1970s being generally somewhat rougher than the present.

Best thing to do if you see a bike being nicked is to call the cops, maybe make sure you can identify the thieves and possibly even take a pic if you can without being seen. But no, in most cases I wouldn't intervene and I'd leave that to the police.

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santosmadhouse [2 posts] 3 years ago
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ye right!! when i had my bike nicked 2 years ago the concierge to my office dialed 999, but the 'Pleb' at the time answered by saying 'er not really an emergency, and the park is a big place' - 'Pleb' was aptly used at the time, then it took the police 10 days to call on me to file a report. PLEBS!! it still hurts today, i put that baby together.

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hoski [81 posts] 3 years ago
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localsurfer wrote:

The police need to convince that they will show up then and there.

And that they'll do anything if they do. My experience is that if it isn't the kind of crime that is perceived as a priority, they couldn't give a rat's arse.

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Stumps [3356 posts] 3 years ago
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Here we go an=gain, it's all the Police fault blah blah blah.

On average we get over 2000 calls a day and with less than 300 cops on duty at any one time and some jobs taking a full day to deal with we cant get to every job within 5 mins.

I wish people would understand that before gobbing off.

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Sarah Barth [86 posts] 3 years ago
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scrapper wrote:

The new Non-Emergency number should help overcome some of the hesitations i certainly feel in reporting minor stuff to the "Emergency services"...trouble is i cant remember what the number is , even now !

It clearly says on the video to call 999 if you see a crime being committed!

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OldRidgeback [2632 posts] 3 years ago
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stumps wrote:

Here we go an=gain, it's all the Police fault blah blah blah.

On average we get over 2000 calls a day and with less than 300 cops on duty at any one time and some jobs taking a full day to deal with we cant get to every job within 5 mins.

I wish people would understand that before gobbing off.

Yep, the cops round our way do have priorities. I'm curious how many of those who'd say they'd 'have a go' actually would in reality when confronted by a gang of teenagers or a bedraggled junkie with not much to lose. And there is the risk of being arrested for assault if the citizen's arrest goes wrong. Taking a photo of the perp could be just as effective.

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mingmong [263 posts] 3 years ago
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only in Avon and Somerset  3http://www.police.uk/101/

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STATO [509 posts] 3 years ago
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Anyone thought of googling their local police number while sitting on the internet (your here if your reading this!). Stick it in your phone, let them know whats going on if you spot anything. I know a lot of you think they wont do anything, but thats because resources have been cut, if people start actually reporting crimes then more resource will have to be committed in the future.

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Mr Agreeable [172 posts] 3 years ago
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If you see a bike being stolen, it's a crime in progress, so don't feel hesitant about calling 999.

A report of someone committing a theft, even if it's just a Raleigh Shopper, will never be classed as "wasting police time", and the 999 operator will be able to transfer you to a non-emergency operators if they think it's appropriate.

101 is more for reporting suspicious behaviour or when crimes have already happened.

From speaking to the police here in Bristol it seems there are times when they definitely have their hands full (e.g. Friday and Saturday night) but equally there are times when they'll have a few cars out patrolling and will be able to get there very quickly. Either way, if no-one reports it, they won't be able to do anything about it.

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zanf [859 posts] 3 years ago
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hoski wrote:
localsurfer wrote:

The police need to convince that they will show up then and there.

And that they'll do anything if they do. My experience is that if it isn't the kind of crime that is perceived as a priority, they couldn't give a rat's arse.

With a friend coming back form Herne Hill velodrome and we were deliberately driven at by a bus driver (missed by milimetres), who when confronted, made a threat to kill us if we got in front of his bus.

Reported it to the Met who were more interested in his threat than his obvious attempt to hit us.

Still haven't heard anything back despite repeated promises that they would "keep me in the loop".

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giff77 [1256 posts] 3 years ago
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Stumps, I really do appreciate what you guys have to deal with. It's just frustrating when you are watching a car being tanned and the radio etc being pocketed and the control room telling you to call the local station.

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Stumps [3356 posts] 3 years ago
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giff77 wrote:

Stumps, I really do appreciate what you guys have to deal with. It's just frustrating when you are watching a car being tanned and the radio etc being pocketed and the control room telling you to call the local station.

In those circ's i would make an official complaint !. It's a very poor attitude from whoever you spoke to.

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pauldavies83 [16 posts] 3 years ago
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So basically what the police have done there is advertise to all potential theives that if they want to steal a bike in a busy street in broad daylight then they should have a go, as they'll probably get away with it because nobody will bother stopping them or reporting it.

Bravo whoever thought of putting that front and centre on BBC news  17