– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd March 1945.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state the number of bicycles reported to the police as stolen or lost in the last period for which figures are available; the number of prosecutions for theft of bicycles brought within the same period; and the number of convictions obtained in that period.
An exact figure for the number of cases of larceny of bicycles known to the police in 1944, is not yet available but the number is estimated to be approximately 50,000. In 1944, 5,415 cases were dealt with by magistrates' courts, and in 4,986 cases the defendant was found guilty.
Is not the disparity between the number of losses reported and the number of prosecutions and convictions, due to the difficulty of proving that the defendant intended to deprive permanently the owner of the bicycle? Would the right hon. Gentleman consider amending the Road Traffic Act so as to make it an offence to borrow a bicycle without the consent of the owner, as is the case with regard to a motor car?
I will consider that suggestion. Generally, of course, the Road Traffic Act is a matter for the Minister of War Transport, but it is a subject on which the Home Office comes in also. I will consider the point.