Off-road bikes for city police

GLASGOW police officers today revealed the latest tool being used to catch criminals - off-road dirt bikes.

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PC Stuart Dunbar and PC Jennifer Finlay use the new motorbikes to patrol in Bath Lane
PC Stuart Dunbar and PC Jennifer Finlay use the new motorbikes to patrol in Bath Lane

Officers from the divisional Violence Reduction Unit are aiming to put the brakes on city centre crime, with the help of new hi-tech vehicles.

The bikes - emblazoned in Police Scotland colours - are being used by specially trained officers to go in pursuit through city centre lanes and cobbled streets.

Police chiefs say the off-road bikes are "ideal" as they get officers to places where they could not get quickly on foot or by car.

Chief Inspector Alan Porte, area commander for Glasgow City Centre, said: "Officers from our Divisional Violence Reduction Unit equipped with motorbikes that have off-road capability are really useful in the streets and lanes of the city centre.

"They are able to respond to incidents quickly but also to patrol more inaccessible areas where people may be tempted to engage in anti-social behaviour or criminality.

"This is another great tool in our armoury for keeping people safe."

Calls have repeatedly been made for more of Glasgow's network of city centre lanes to be locked at night.

But it is hoped the new bikes will help reassure members of the public.

To cope with the all-terrain conditions, including lanes, the bikes are fitted with off-road tyres and allow officers to patrol "hard to reach" areas.

Officers of the seven-bike squad can spend their entire shifts on the vehicles, patrolling city centre crime hotspots.

PC Stuart Dunbar, one of the officers trained to use the vehicles, said: "The bikes are great for getting to incidents quickly, especially getting down lanes in the city centre and getting along the Broomielaw.

"People are still very surprised to see us on the bikes and will come up and ask us about them.

"But it's all about public reassurance and I think these bikes are very good for doing that."

His colleague, PC Jennifer Finlay earlier, said: "We carry out patrols, just like every other officer.

"But we can get there a lot faster than on foot.We mainly tackle anti-social behaviour and disorder, especially in the city centre."

THE vehicles will help them zip in and out of the traffic, as well as patrolling city train and subway stations, along with Buchanan Bus Station.

Officers are also kitted out with special off-road helmets, with visors and radio earpieces - as well as their batons and handcuffs.

Police Scotland are not the only force to resort to unusual vehicles to combat crime.

Officers in Devon and Cornwall have been known to use a tractor -complete with a siren - after a rise in thefts from farms,

Meanwhile, officers in Lancashire have used two-wheeled Segways to scoot around pedestrian areas.

rebecca.gray@eveningtimes.co.uk

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