Staffordshire Police have issued a warning to cyclists who ride through Stafford town centre that they will continue to stop and fine them, after a video went viral in which two constables were seen violently shoving a cyclist and arresting him for refusing to provide his details.
The officers stopped the man who was spotted cycling through Stafford town centre. They said this breached a public space protection order (PSPO) in place banning cycling in certain areas.
In the video, the cyclist, named Kieran Crooks-Clarke, can be seen sitting on his bike as two community officers surround him and ask him for his details to issue a fixed penalty notice. When he refuses to do so, the officers proceed to arrest him and then charge him with resisting arrest.
Crooks-Clarke can be heard saying “I am calm, I am not resisting. I’m not running away”, while onlookers questioned the police why were they arresting him. One person says: “Mate he’s not even doing anything, you f****** w***er. You smashed his head off there!”
The police force has now defended its actions and said there had been “lot of complaints” about cyclists in the town centre, reported Birmingham Mail. A spokesperson said: “The Public Space Protection Order is specific to people cycling in the pedestrianised area of Stafford town centre and not wider than that.
"We have received lots of complaints from the public about the issue, on Greengate Street, despite the signs that the council have installed. We have issued warnings to cyclists in the pedestrianised area and we now issue fixed penalty notices and the issue is reducing as a result.”
The incident has prompted questions about why cyclists were being stopped even when not doing anything else wrong. Matt Street posted the video on Facebook saying: “Staffordshire Police Abusing Their Powers [sic]. What an awful situation that everyone had to see in Stafford Town Market Square today as a young man was beaten up and arrested for riding his bike.”
One person commented under the post: “I'm sorry but so many kids ride the bikes through the town. Why has he been arrested and hurt in a way that looks like a criminal??? This is a total waste of police resources. They should actually be doing the job protecting people. Not doing this bulls**t.”
Mr Street also pointed out that where he was arrested is a public road with pavements on both sides that you can drive a car down, but cannot cycle on it.
The arrest follows a crackdown on cyclists in the town centre by Staffordshire Police and Stafford Borough Council following reports of youths causing antisocial behaviour. A number of bikes have been seized and fines issued as part of the tough action.
However, during this incident, police said the man had been merely "been seen cycling through the town centre", before the situation escalated. After the video went viral, Stafford Borough Police said on social media: “We are aware of a video circulating on social media of a recent arrest in Stafford and wanted to provide some further information.
“A member of the public had been seen cycling through the town centre, which is a breach of the public space protection order. The officer stopped and spoke with the man, but he refused to provide his details.
“The officer repeatedly explained the situation, but he continued to refuse to provide the relevant information for a fixed penalty notice. As a result the officer looked to arrest him, which he resisted against.”
“Kieran Crooks-Clarke, age 30, of Stafford, was arrested and has been charged with resisting / obstructing a constable in the lawful execution of his duty. He was also given a fixed penalty notice.”
PSPOs have attracted a degree of controversy for how they criminalise behaviour not normally regarded as illegal and Cycling UK, in particular, has been outspoken in its displeasure at how cycling is frequently included in the mix.
Stafford’s PSPO was first introduced in 2017 and renewed in 2020 with the addition of a ban on cycling, roller skating, skateboarding and scooters in designated areas. Anyone caught breaking the rules faces a £75 fine – reduced to £50 if paid within 10 days.
However, one Staffordshire councillor questioned the inclusion of cycling in the order. She said: “In lockdown a couple of residents have spoken and made me question the reasons behind these orders.
“Why is cycling discouraged? If this is a decision you made because of the number of falls or serious injuries caused by cyclists through the town centre, please can we see evidence of this.”
Commenting on the council’s attitude to cycling, a cabinet member for community and health said: “There is significant investment by the county council in cycling, which is why we want to see people ditching the motor car and using cycle ways, public transport and legs.
“It’s right we should have some cycleways – that way it’s safer and we’re not mixing pedestrians with cyclists. I can imagine people coming out of shops, not paying attention and being mown down by cyclists. I know of people including a councillor that have been hit by cycles in Stafford town centre.
“It’s right we take these precautions so people can enjoy Stafford town centre as they should.”
Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after completing his masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He also covers local and national politics for Voice Wales, and sometimes writes about science, tech and the environment. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him riding his bike on the scenic routes, fighting his urge to stop pedalling and click photographs (apparently not because he's bonking).