The Metropolitan Police has responded to the recent spate of deaths by setting targets for cycling-related offences, it has emerged.
The Times has uncovered a memo from Inspector Colin Davies, of the Metropolitan Police’s South East Area Traffic Garage, instructing his officers to issue at least 10 ‘cycle tickets’ a month.
“All, can you please cascade this onto your troops. Officers have four months to do 40 cycle tickets. Ten per month, 2.5 a week. Most officers are nearing or have even achieved their other targets. This will give them a renewed focus for a while.”
The targets provoked concern from CTC’s Roger Geffen, who stated “They may well nick cyclists for things which are not offences” – in the week when, notably, the Met has been stopping cyclists for not wearing a helmet or a hi-vis jacket, neither of which are required by law.
Olympic road cyclist Chris Boardman and the AA’s Edmund King, meanwhile, agreed that the focus was disproportionate. Boardman said “it makes sense to start with the people who can cause the most harm and work down from there”, and King agreed: “It should be about targeting the most dangerous people on the road, irrespective of some arbitrary target.”
The Met has now softened its stance a little, saying that the targets are for all offences relating to cycle safety – including cars in the advanced stop lane or blocking a cycle path. The Times quoted Chief Superintendent Glyn Jones:
“The e-mail from the inspector was a genuine misinterpretation of my direction. The offences that relate to the cycle highway and advanced stop lines can actually only be committed by motorists; and contravening traffic lights is dangerous regardless of who commits it.”