Police constables on bicycle beat once again
Lerwick police took to the beat by pedal power today as the local force went back to the way it was in the good old days.
Constables Andrew Card and Daniel Whittingham were the first to go on bicycle patrol when they took off down to the Esplanade in the sunshine to check out a problem with one of the traffic lights.
Along with constables Nicola MacAngus and Graham Johnstone they are the first four volunteers in the local force for the new push-bike patrols but more are to join in once they are kitted out.
The two bicycles in service are mountain bike-style built specially for police use with a pannier containing a repair kit and some of the tools of the officers’ trade.
Chief inspector David Bushell said it was the Shetland force’s own decision to introduce bicycles for officers to use in town at certain times, day and night, making them able to cover their beat far quicker than on foot.
He hopes they will be useful for getting into areas like the lanes where police cars cannot go. They will be much in evidence during the Tall Ships Race later this month.
He admitted part of the motivation is to save on fuel costs and make the force more eco-friendly, as well as improving officers’ health.
Other aims include re-assuring the community that the police are on patrol, preventing crime and making the area safe. “It’s about us being approachable to the public as well,” he said.
Don’t expect exciting police bike chases through Lerwick’s streets though. Mr Bushell said: “We’ll bring in other means of capturing people!”
The last known use of a push bike on patrol was by one of the Scalloway policemen years ago, Mr Bushell was told.