Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The price of victory

While Cllr Howell and I were securing a surprise victory in the battle at the city council's East Area Committee last Thursday to have speeding dealt with by proper monitoring and police enforcement someone was busy stealing my bicycle wheels outside the Cherry Trees Day Centre.

I hadn't had a bike stolen for three or four years now so perhaps I should count myself lucky it was only the wheels - time to heed the advice of my colleague in Kings Hedges and have it security-marked.

I suspect the thieves probably weren't aware that there were four police officers/PCSOs in the building at the time, which does cause me to reflect on how it can possibly be good value for money for those four public servants to have sat through hours of unrelated business before getting to the Neighbourhood Policing agenda item... Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman Richard Normington pointed out yesterday that the cost of these meetings per head of the general population in attendance is £195!

Finally, I'd like to thank Labour Coleridge Councillor Lewis Herbert for offering me a lift home after the incident...although in the event that didn't quite fit into my plans for a quick pint!


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that.

Was it locked to anything, or were the three stands all taken by the time you arrived?

Andrew Bower said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for your comment.

I locked it to the railings opposite the building, which is what I usually do.

I didn't notice whether the stands outside the centre were occupied - I suppose it would have been less of a temptation had I parked it close to the occupied building but as I'm usually not quite as prompt as I ought to be I often assume the official facilities are already in use.

Chris Howell said...

Yes, the very limited cycle racks at Cherry Trees were full - the lack of provision for cycle parking with something secure to lock bikes to is lamentable across the city in my opinion...

I think the problem on Thursday was that in view of this, only the frame could be locked in the alternative location. I wonder if anyone has done any research as to whether wheels are more likely to be stolen if a matching pair is available.

Andrew Bower said...

You are right about the general lack of cycle parking being unacceptable.

I do have to admit that I don't tend to do as much as I could to protect key removable components and accessories on my bike - but when a journey only lasts 5 or 10 minutes and one makes lots of them it is annoying to have to do much more than lock the frame up.

Richard Taylor said...

Parked cars were obstructing access to the stands meaning they were under-used. I used one and had to lift my bike over the flower-beds to get to it.

Uploading the photos along with a comment to the Cambridge Cycling Campaign's photomap might help by making them available to those campaigning for better cycle parking. the police (A Sergeant, two PCSOs and a Chief Inspector) sitting through the meeting I agree its a waste. I succeeded, following a year of lobbying, in persuading the North Area committee to take the police item at a set time for a couple of meetings. As well as saving the police time it enabled me and others to publicise the police element of the meeting with the confidence that those attending for that item would not have to wait hours for the agenda item to be reached.

The police have told me one reason they don't do more to promote these meetings themselves is the uncertainty of the item's start time. it is useful to have the police present for some other agenda items. Other area committee chairs routinely ask the police, rangers, and others present to comment on matters raised by residents in the open forum - this can turn elements of the area committees into a useful forum for local discussion.

With respect to that particular East Area meeting it might be interesting to have seen if the police, having listened to the debate on Riverside had any comments on if the proposals adequately manage to "design out crime". Their expert opinion ought carry significant weight.