Police on mountain bikes are a common sight in many cities around the world, but Leicestershire Constabulary reckon they've found an even better tool for urban crime fighting – the BMX.
While it may not afford officers the same dignity as a larger wheeled bike, the force reckon their new Haro F3 will "break down barriers" when police meet young people on the streets and in parks.
PCSO Vince Preston, from Oadby and Wigston local policing unit, said: “It's a size the children can get on, and it helps build a rapport with them. Kids are more open to speaking to you than if you're on a larger bike or on foot patrol."
The marked-up blue and white machine will also be used for school safety sessions – and officers reckon it'll come in handy for catching criminals too. PCSO Preston said his experience using mountain bikes showed how valuable they were for tracking suspects, and he reckons that in the majority of cases a BMX is quicker and easier to manoeuvre.
“In a car, they can hear you a mile off, but on a bike you're virtually silent," he said. "This area has lots of alleyways which I know and can use, so often I can get to an incident at least as quickly as colleagues in a car. And while you're on patrol, you can communicate with members of the public and you can see and smell more than being in a car.”
Haro Bikes' UK distributors have supplied the bike free of charge. Brand manager Adam Garner said: “Moore Large and Co are delighted to be involved in this fantastic project. We're hoping it will help gain respect between the police and Leicestershire’s youth. I'm looking forward to supporting Leicestershire police over the coming months and watching the project make a positive influence on the local community."
It's unclear how the F3's stunt pegs and 360-degree gyro will aid crime fighting; maybe officers hope to stun offenders into submission with a succession of grinds and barspins, or maybe they'll use the pegs to give colleagues 'backies' when chasing more than one suspect?
Do you think the BMX is a good tool for the police? Have your say in the comments box below.