Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Tory MP seeks to highlight plight of bike theft victims after his own was stolen ... but gets ridiculed on social media

Twitter users point out it was Gloucester MP Richard Graham's own party that has cut police funding ...

A Conservative MP is querying the service victims of crime, including bike theft, receive from police after he had to wait more than half an hour on the non-emergency number 101 to report that his own bike had been stolen – but has been ridiculed on social media given the cuts to police funding his own party has imposed over the past decade.

In a Facebook post, Richard Graham, who has been member of parliament for Gloucester since 2010, also asked whether he may have received preferential treatment due to his position and whether other bike theft victims are treated in the same way.

He is offering a £15 reward for the return of his Trek bike, stolen from outside his constituency office on College Street on Friday 14 August.

In the post, published last Wednesday, the 62-year-old also said that it was a week before he received a crime reference number following the theft of the bike, which had cost him £100.

He said that he had “tied up” the bike to a lamp post outside the office at around 5.15pm on the evening in question, and chatted to two of Gloucester’s City Protection Officers (CPOs) – employed by the council for civil enforcement – as he did so.

Discovering when he left the office at 8pm that the bike had gone, he began walking home and says he bumped into the pair again, who advised him to call 101, as did two other CPOs in a van.

“I rang for about 10 minutes, then took an incoming call and tried again,” he said. “33 minutes later I got through to a helpful woman who gave me an incident number and suggested I look on Facebook Market in case the bike was there.

“Exactly a week later I got a text from the Police with a crime number.

“How does this stack up?” he asked. “In many ways pretty well. Partly because the theft was in the city centre early on a Fri eve, CPOs and PCSOs were physically close to the scene of the crime: and I had the advantage of knowing them. They [could] not have been more helpful (and the former had witnessed me tying up the bike 3 hours earlier).

“Would everyone get the same service? I had several messages (and saw others on FB) from Abbeymead earlier this year from constituents who claimed the police had said they were too busy to log (or do anything about) bike thefts – and I suspect these bikes were a lot more valuable than mine (at least in cash terms). I can’t be sure, and welcome short comments.

“Having a bike stolen is not the end of the world and although I’ve only had Trek for a few months, Cherry & White [his other bike] hasn’t been stolen in 13 years so I don’t buy the line that every bike gets instantly stolen in Gloucester.”

The MP said that he was “left wondering a few things,” namely:

1. How long is reasonable to wait when dialling 101? Is 33 minutes normal? What is the ‘service target’ of how long we should expect to wait for a reply? Are resources increased at peak times?

2. How long should a crime incident number take to be texted to you? Is a week normal? Again is there a service target and if so what is it?

3. How many recorded bike thefts a year in Gloucester are there and what patterns are there? (Has anyone done a mapping exercise?) Have patrols been increased to the areas of highest theft?

4. How effective is registering a bike? What % of stolen bikes are recovered in total and for registered bikes (in our city)?

5. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, are all thefts of bikes registered as theft and given crime numbers? Or are some just given incident numbers, and if so what’s the breakdown of the two and why the different treatment: is there a danger of crime being under reported?

Graham went on to ask several more general questions about the reporting of crime and related targets.

In summary, he added: “My bike being stolen is completely irrelevant, except in one way: it has made me report a crime myself. I now want to know more about what service my constituents should expect, and what improvements, if need be, are being planned.

“So I’ll mail these questions to our Chief and our PCC, and meanwhile let me know about your experience  (factually please and no abuse of anyone or anything).

“Meanwhile am offering £15 to anyone who can return Trek to me: here’s what she looks like (slightly fuzzy). No mudguard.”

A Gloucestershire Constabulary spokesman, quoted on Gloucestershire Live,  said: “While we’re pleased Mr Graham feels he received a good service from the officers on the ground we are looking into the concerns he raises.

“The average wait time for people calling 101 has been around four minutes this year but can vary considerably and in peak times such as weekends it can be considerably longer while we prioritise 999 calls and respond to incidents that may involve a threat to life.

“The bike was stolen during one of our busiest weeks on record for emergency call-outs so this is likely to have played a part in the delay.”

Most of the people commenting on Gloucestershire Live’s tweet of its report, however, have pointed out that the party he represents has been responsible for police funding cuts over the past decade and, moreover, that he has voted in support of such measures.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

Add new comment


LetsBePartOfThe... | 3 years ago

theft and police response aside - here is a politician seemingly using a bike in normal day to day life.  
Something to be welcomed at least

Nick T | 3 years ago

Can't believe a Tory would only realise something's wrong when they personally become effected by it

Cycloid replied to Nick T | 3 years ago

I can

grOg replied to Cycloid | 3 years ago
1 like

I detected a whiff of sarcasm with the comment from Nick..

Rich_cb | 3 years ago

I remember when my bike was stolen during the glorious reign of Mr G. Brown.

The well funded police sprang into action, cataloguing the evidence left at the scene, reviewing the multiple CCTV cameras covering the area and arresting the perpetrator promptly.

As a consequence none of my colleagues suffered the theft of their bikes over the following weeks and months.


My mistake.

That is exactly the opposite of what actually happened.

Secret_squirrel replied to Rich_cb | 3 years ago

You've kinda missed the point - the only one comparing and contrasting the Tories and Labour is you. Now if you could dig out a Labour MP both commenting about bike thefts AND having voting against police funding, your post might have a point. 

Instead you post a generic comment that has no bearing on the facts of the story.   Bit of a politically insecure knee jerk reaction don't you think?


Rich_cb replied to Secret_squirrel | 3 years ago

Not really.

The insinuation in this article is that the police response to bike theft has worsened as a consequence of the Conservative government and their policies.

From my own personal experience and that of many people I know the police response to bike theft has always been terrible.

Luca Patrono replied to Rich_cb | 3 years ago

The article makes no such insinuation. It covers a Conservative MP moving to apply pressure to the Police over response times to bike theft, in response to he himself becoming the victim of such a theft, while he and his party have voted consistently to cut funding to the Police. Entirely worthy of criticism because it's classic Tory behaviour.

Rich_cb replied to Luca Patrono | 3 years ago

So if there is no connection between police funding and the police response to bike theft what exactly is the point of the article?

If police funding cuts have led to a deterioration in the response to bike theft then it would be reasonable to assume that prior to said cuts the response would have been noticeably better.

In my experience it was equally bad prior to the cuts. Indicating that the cuts are not the relevant point here.

FrankH replied to Luca Patrono | 3 years ago
1 like
Luca Patrono wrote:

The article makes no such insinuation. It covers a Conservative MP moving to apply pressure to the Police over response times to bike theft, in response to he himself becoming the victim of such a theft, while he and his party have voted consistently to cut funding to the Police. Entirely worthy of criticism because it's classic Tory behaviour.

The insinuations, and more, are in the tweets responding to the MP's tweet.

eburtthebike | 3 years ago

In a government where cognitive dissonance is a valued asset, I'm sure this MP will progress through the ranks with despatch, and I'm somewhat surprised that he isn't already in the cabinet, given the talents of those already there.

grOg replied to eburtthebike | 3 years ago
1 like

The fact that he left a bicycle outside until 8 pm, presumably with an easily defeated cable lock around a lamp post and expected the bike to still be there, demonstrates an inadequate level of common sense.

brooksby replied to grOg | 3 years ago
1 like

Or a lack of experience in dealing with "the real world".

hawkinspeter | 3 years ago

I hope he gets his bike back, but the odds aren't good.

Cycloid | 3 years ago

Welcome to the real world

Latest Comments