New electric bikes and bigger team take fight to criminals in South Yorkshire
South Yorkshire Police have more than doubled their off-road ability to tackle antisocial behaviour and the criminal use of off-road motorbikes and quads during the coronavirus pandemic.
The off-road fleet will also be better equipped to chase thieves who think that taking a pursuit off-road will give them an advantage and let them get away.
The team previously consisted of six full time officers but following an increase in 999 and 101 calls linked to off-road bikes and quads since the Government introduced lockdown measures, this has more than doubled.
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"Seven officers have now been released from their other duties to create a new, bigger team of 13 full time officers," said Roads Policing Inspector Craig Clifton.
"The uplift in numbers means the team will now conduct daily operations and patrols in hotspots across South Yorkshire as well as target those who use their vehicles in an anti-social, criminal and dangerous manner.
"As part of the ongoing work, the team will utilise their new electric off-road bikes, petrol off-road bikes, drones and will be supported by traffic officers and the National Police Air Service and as a result of the uplift will deploy to several areas within the force at the same time."
PC Jamie Walker from South Yorkshire Police told MCN: "We received our electric bikes in April and have already seen some incredible benefits to their use. As well as being sustainable and environmentally friendly, their quietness ensures that we do not disturb our communities while out on patrol or operations.
"The eco-friendliness of the bikes assists us with our city centre patrols and urban areas. At first, I was sceptical about the bikes' performance in comparison to our Yamaha WR250s, but we have taken them to challenging places and they have showed that they excel."
As well as enforcing the law, the team will also be educating riders about where they can ride their bikes legally and safely and what documentation they need over the coming weeks.