A letter has emerged in which London police officers have been ordered to catch and fine 10 law-breaking cyclists a month.
In an email, Inspector Colin Davies of the Metropolitan Police’s South East Area Traffic Garage, said: “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.”
Common reasons for fining law breaking cyclists include riding on the pavement and jumping red lights.
The email, published on The Times‘ website came in the wake of a spate of fatalities in London this month and a subsequent crackdown on road users who break the law. About 150 fixed penalty notices were handed out across 60 junctions on Monday, when the campaign started.
Davies’ email angered campaigners including British Cycling policy advisor Chris Boardman said: “If you don’t have the resources to prosecute everyone who breaks the law, then it makes sense to start with the people who can cause the most harm and work down from there.”
Chief Superintendent Glyn Jones, head of the Met Police’s Traffic commands admitted that traffic offence target had been reviewed and reset in the wake of the six cycling fatalities in 13 days but that his instruction was a “genuine misinterpretation”.
He said: “The email 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; contravening traffic lights is dangerous regardless of who commits it.”
“Our intention from the very beginning has always been to target dangerous road use by all road users and encourage everyone who uses our roads to be responsible and consider others around them.”
The news comes on the same day London cyclist Alex Paxton, who rode through a red light, has a case against him dropped. He said a car was occupying the bike box at spot where he was fined.