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Police in Staffordshire are using off-road bikes as part of their latest tactic to catch criminals operating across the county.
The lightweight and versatile scrambler bikes for use in all-terrain conditions, will be ridden by specially trained officers from the force’s dedicated roads policing unit.
The three motorbikes are part of the force’s continuing investment in roads policing as a result of the increase in precept from the Staffordshire Commissioner’s Office, which aims to make the roads across the region safer and to disrupt and deter criminals use of the road network.
The team of bikers will be cracking down on nuisance and anti-social behaviour by offenders using illegal off-road motorbikes in hot-spot locations across wasteland and urban areas. The bikes will be able to reach areas which normal police patrol vehicles struggle to get to.
They will also be utilised by the force in the search for high risk missing and vulnerable people and to respond to reports of crime, such as drug dealing, in secluded locations.
Since the bikes were introduced earlier this month, officers have made an arrest and seized three illegal bikes.
Chief Inspector Mat Derrick, who heads the force’s roads policing unit, said: “We are continuing to increase our focus on roads policing and making investments in specialist equipment to improve our capability to more effectively police the roads and surrounding remote areas.
“The rapid deployment and agility of police bikes is a key tool in modern day crime fighting and helping to keep the public safe with enhanced technology and increased visibility.
“Officers will be able to respond to incidents quickly, and patrol rough ground areas that are unreachable with conventional police vehicles, where individuals may be tempted to engage in illegal or nuisance riding, anti-social behaviour or other criminality.
“We hope that this on-going work as part of Operation Lightning will lead to a reduction in the number of reported incidents of illegal off-road motorbikes being ridden in a poor and anti-social manner across Staffordshire, and offer reassurance to the local communities affected.
“We rely on information from the public to guide our resources to where they are needed most, so it is important that people continue to report these issues, so that we can tackle them.”
Matthew Ellis, Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime, said: "Asking people across Staffordshire for extra money through local tax has never been something I do lightly, and most of my time in office I have not done that. I do believe, however, that investment in the tools to allow officers to do their jobs more effectively is welcomed by most people.
"As a direct result of that additional money, these new off-road bikes will help to make a real difference in disrupting criminality and anti-social behaviour across hard to access terrains."