Patrolling police get pedal power

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IT is a mode of transport resonant of a bygone age, but last week community police officers covering Galashiels, Peebles and Melrose were issued with mountain bikes to patrol their local areas, writes Andrew Keddie.

Sergeant Duncan Marker and six community constables, who have all received special training, will not only be pedalling in town centres and residential areas, but will also negotiate paths, parks and wooded areas.

The hope is they will be able to combat antisocial behaviour and under-age drinking which some of these areas, not accessible to patrol cars, currently attract.

Local inspector Mike Wynne said that such a high profile presence would give members of the public an additional opportunity to engage with his officers.

“Community engagement is a priority for police in the Borders,” he told us. “Community officers on bikes rather than vehicles will offer the public the opportunity to speak to their local bobby.

“This high-visibility approach offers the public further reassurance that officers are patrolling their areas and allows the officers to cover a larger area and be seen more often.

Inspector Wynne said he was grateful to Diamond Bikes in Galashiels for its sponsorship and Galashiels and Peebles Community Safety Panels for their contributions to realise the initiative.

Sergeant Duncan Marker said: “The new bikes will allow the officers more flexibility when patrolling their areas. As well as making them more available to the community, the bikes will also be utilised for local events and festivals.

“We encourage members of the public to flag officers down and discuss issues affecting the areas in which they live.”