Police officers get on their bikes to tackle community crime

Stuart Smith 2010, News

Transport Minister visits Grampian Police as officers take to the streets.

GRAMPIAN Police is increasing the number of officers on bicycle patrol in communities across Aberdeenshire after a funding boost helped secure new specialist bikes and support equipment.

Transport and Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson will be at Grampian Police’s Aberdeenshire Division headquarters in Inverurie this afternoon as officers take to the streets on seven new purpose-built Smith & Wesson police mountain bikes which are a robust yet lightweight design capable of withstanding tough conditions and meeting tactical-policing needs in rural areas.

The bikes, which are especially made for use by the emergency services, provide officers with an increased visibility within their local communities and come with built-in features including a torch and panniers for carrying safety equipment.

Regional transport initiative Getabout has supported the initiative with a £5,000 donation which will also provide safety and maintenance equipment, tow bars and cycle racks which can be fitted to police cars for deployment across the area. It brings the total number of Grampian Police bikes in action across Aberdeenshire to 23.

Chief Superintendent Mark McLaren of Grampian Police said: “Being visible and accessible within our communities is important to us and we know that people like to see us out and about on pedal cycles as it creates opportunities for better engagement which sometimes, is not always possible when officers are travelling in vehicles.

“The big advantage here of course is that our staff like to use the bikes too so this is a bit of a win/win situation. This is a great opportunity for us as not only do the bikes offer health and environmental benefits, they also have the added advantage of sometimes, being able to quickly get into areas that aren’t always immediately accessible by cars.

“In Aberdeenshire, we have already successfully deployed officers on bikes at a number of major events such as the Braemar Gathering as well as regular patrol work. With the support of organisations such as Getabout and other community safety groups however, we have a real opportunity here to extend this initiative even further and to get closer to our communities where we can.”

Earlier in the day, pupils from Inverurie Academy will get to see the police bike’s capabilities at an event at the school with an appearance by the Endura cycling team which includes 2009 Scottish Road Race Champion Ross Creber and Commonwealth Games bronze medalist James McCallum.

The Getabout partnership includes regional transport partnership Nestrans, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils, the NHS, the University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen College and the the Energy Savings Trust. It was launched in April 2009 to promote the benefits of avoiding single-occupancy car trips when possible and instead travelling by bus, rail, bicycle, foot or car-share.

Getabout co-ordinator Donald Kent said: “With more cars on our roads, increasing levels of congestion, rising emissions and health problems associated with inactivity, it is time for us all to look at our travel behaviour. Road safety however is vital and Grampian Police is leading by example within our communities.

“We are delighted to be supporting this initiative and hope that it inspires other people to look at ways of incorporating cycling into their daily lives.”

For further information visit http://www.get-about.com/