Northumbria PCC exploring designated area for off roading to tackle anti-social riding

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Northumbria Police are considering a plan to dedicate a piece of land to off road bikers so that they have a legal place to ride. The force hopes the plan will reduce the number of people who take to the streets, parks and private land to use their bikes illegally.

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“Dangerous off-road motor-biking is a problem that needs a long-term solution,” said Northumbria police and crime commissioner, Kim McGuinness. “I know Northumbria Police are taking proactive measures to identify those responsible and, where necessary, take away the bikes involved.

“But as well as that police response, we also need to look at wider changes, and part of that means looking to see if young people can be taught to enjoy motorbikes without causing disruption to others. So it’s great the police are exploring these options.

“For me, that is how our region needs to approach antisocial behaviour. Yes, there will sometimes need to be a police response, but alongside that there needs to be joined up work from councils, youth services, housing providers and others to tackle the causes of anti-social behaviour.”

Northumbria PCC backtracks on bike trackers

First published on 16 April 2021 by Ben Clarke

Illegal off roaders seized by police

The office of Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, have published a new statement on the issue of motorcycle trackers.

MCN first reported the news on April 9, 2021 that McGuinness was urging the Policing Minister to consider fitting trackers to all motorbikes in an effort to curb anti-social and illegal riding. Now, following public pressure, she has backtracked.

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“These [tracker] proposals caused concern to some law-abiding bikers,” says a statement issued through the Northumbria PCC website. “We’d like to make clear that we are now working with motorcycle groups to look at more acceptable proposals.”

“The Commissioner is pleased that this has opened up conversation with the relevant parties and is now looking forward to working with them in finding solutions to tackle bike related anti-social behaviour caused by a very small minority of bike users.

“Anyone with ideas and suggestions that will help cut this crime and keep people safe is encouraged to contact the office.”

Mandatory trackers for all motorbikes suggested by Police and Crime Commissioner

First published on 9 April, 2021 by Ben Clarke

Scooter stopped by police

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, has suggested fitting trackers to all motorcycles ‘so their whereabouts and speed can be monitored’ to help tackle illegal and antisocial riding.

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“I don’t mean our law-abiding bikers here,” said Ms McGuinness, who has urged the Policing Minister to give the idea the green light. “I’m talking about trouble-makers, often young people riding un-roadworthy bikes, which in some cases have been stolen.”

Despite making this distinction, there are clear ramifications for all bikers if the proposal were to become reality, something Craig Carey-Clinch, executive director of the National Motorcyclists Council (NMC) agrees.

“It is unfortunate that Ms McGuinness chose not to consult motorcyclists in Northumbria before making this proposal and we would urge her to make contact with NMC member organisation representatives in his area.

Antisocial riding

“Most motorcyclists are law abiding citizens and won’t appreciate feeling they are all being put on something akin to a criminal ‘tagging’ sanction. This is sadly a poorly thought through idea which would guarantee negative impacts for legitimate riders, not least on their personal privacy, but is unlikely to impact on law breakers – who’s first action would be likely to simply disable or remove the trackers.”

Mr Carey-Clinch has pointed out several issues with the proposal, including its discriminatory nature, the difficulty of integrating such technology in reality and the lack of police resources to enforce its use.

He added: “The NMC is prepared to participate in a full debate about the issues and potential solutions. But it is clear that there is a need for greater police resources being utilised effectively for traditional enforcement and measures to reduce theft, rather than a ‘big brother’ approach that will only really impact law abiding motorcyclists.”

Doncaster Mayor calls to licence off-roaders

First published on April 7, 2021 by Ben Clarke

Illegal off roaders stopped by police

The Mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones has written to the Home Secretary to request a new approach to tackling antisocial behaviour and crime related to the illegal use of off-road bikes and quads.

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In the letter, Jones references the ‘frustrations felt by the police’ when seized vehicles are handed back to their owners (provided they aren’t stolen and a fine is paid) just to be used in further offences.

The letter goes on to outline a proposed system whereby the owners of non road registered off-road vehicles would need to apply for a licence.

The licence would declare the owner’s reason for owning the machine and where they intend to use it. This would include those with business interests such as farmers or outdoor pursuit centres but also those with a ‘genuine sporting interest such as motocross or trail riding’.

Illegal off road motorcycle seized by police

Under the proposed system, anyone who fails to provide a licence for their vehicle or is using it in breach of conditions will have their vehicle seized and disposed of. “If this scheme was adopted nationally, we feel it would be a great step forward in tackling a growing problem and removing access to vehicles being used to facilitate crime,” the letter concludes.

Such a licencing system could also have the knock-on effect of making off road bikes harder to steal. Vehicle crime expert, Dr Ken German says that off road bike theft is also growing issue: “The difficulty is that most machines of this type are not registered for the road and therefore when they are stolen their frame and engine numbers are not recorded on the Police National Computer.

“Also many owners do not record their frame and engine numbers to offer the police when they are stolen. Mayor Jones, for whatever reason, was highlighting in her own way the problem with off roaders and that can only be a good thing.”