POLICE in Manchester have admitted that their bike patrol officers receive no formal training, after the death of a support officer.
Police Community Support Officer Chris Maclure, 21, was hit by a skip wagon as he was out on his force regulation mountain bike in Wigan. He suffered head injuries and died at the scene. Some 300 officers have been removed from bike patrols for health and safety reasons following his death.
Now Bikeradar.com has been told by Greater Manchester Police that it does not have a bike training programme for its officers. A Greater Manchester Police spokesman told us: "They don't receive training as such. They are familiarised with our policies and safety equipment, and security. They are assessed as being competent before they are allowed to patrol on the bikes."
However, the spokesman could not elaborate on the details of the assessment.
"They don't receive training of a cycling proficiency style," he added.
"I assume that we ask for volunteers and people who volunteer are assessed on their competency in some way."
He said he couldn't provide further information on how the force prepared its officers for bike patrols, as this was now being investigated following PSCO Maclure's death.
All officers with less than a year's experience on bike patrols have been told they can't work on two wheels until the review is over.
Bike patrols have become popular in the UK and the United States, where they give local police a way of beating congestion and getting into pedestrianised areas.
Previously a GMP spokesman told the BBC that there was "no suggestion" that the force's assessment process had anything to do with the accident.
After consulting with public service union Unison and the force's health and safety training unit, Greater Manchester Police has decided to allow all officers with more than a year's experience to continue bike patrols. They will be given extra advice on the Highway Code and safe riding. The force is hoping all the officers taken off bike patrols will be back out riding within a few months.