Town centre bobbies take to their bikes
By Juliette MaxamPOLICE mountain bike patrols have been set up to tackle drunken, violent and yobbish behaviour in a town centre on weekend nights.The Chelmsford police town patrol unit has formed a squad of two officers on mountain bikes, soon to be increased to four, who pedal the streets and alleyways each Friday and Saturday night.
By Juliette Maxam
POLICE mountain bike patrols have been set up to tackle drunken, violent and yobbish behaviour in a town centre on weekend nights.
The Chelmsford police town patrol unit has formed a squad of two officers on mountain bikes, soon to be increased to four, who pedal the streets and alleyways each Friday and Saturday night.
The mountain bike bobbies are the first of their kind in Essex and they aim to respond quickly to public order problems to prevent them escalating.
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They started the patrols at the end of last month and will continue throughout the summer in an effort to ensure that revellers can enjoy a night out in Chelmsford without fear of being harassed or attacked.
Sgt Phil Closs, from the town patrol unit, said he was keen to highlight the assistance the team had received from bars and nightclubs.
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"The patrols are working because of the good relationship we have with the door staff at the local nightclubs and bars in the town and also from the borough council's CCTV section," he added.
"Our response times before the arrival of the bikes were pretty good, but now – well, they're excellent as pedal power is clamping down on alcohol-fuelled fights before they really get going.
"We can now also seize alcohol with ease from youths coming into the town and surrounding parks because they cannot outrun us any more."
In the first few weekends of their high-visibility patrols, the police cyclists arrested a number of people for assaults, issued fixed penalty notices for public order offences and stopped numerous fights in the town centre.
An Essex Police spokeswoman said other divisions around the county would be looking at the scheme to see how well it worked and, if it was successful, they might follow suit.