Cheshire West and Chester Council has bought 20 bikes for Cheshire Police as part of a joint campaign between the Council and Cheshire Constabulary – aimed at helping officers cover their neighbourhood beats and increase public confidence in cycling in the area either travelling to work or for leisure. The bikes will help police to be more accessible to communities and will also be used to help reduce bike crime in Chester and Ellesmere Port.
The post Olympic legacy has seen more people choosing to get out and ride bikes again however many choose not to use them to commute into work and still see cycling as a leisure- only activity. Now a targeted partnership project has been introduced by the Council’s LSTF itravelsmart Team and Cheshire Police, to increase confidence in using their bikes as part of the daily commute to work.
This is a project looking at all the factors affecting cyclists and work has been completed on providing cycle lock ups, educating cyclists, and using an innovative cycle micro-chipping scheme with Cheshire Police, focused on reducing pedal cycle thefts in Chester and Ellesmere Port by investigation and prevention strategies.
Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund programme (LSTF) has purchased bikes for the Police that will help to:
- Have a visible cycle presence on cycle paths and roads across Chester and Ellesmere Port
- Be able to patrol cycle routes easier than by car to increase confidence and feelings of security on key routes across Chester and Ellesmere Port
- Promote safe and secure cycling to people wishing to make a change and start cycling more
- Offer security advice on how to keep your bike safe
The dedicated patrol bikes are also used to provide a positive visible presence on the many cycle routes and canal paths to increase public confidence and deter antisocial behaviour and crime. It’s about getting into areas that are often inaccessible by car.
Cheshire West and Chester Council was awarded £4.6 million LSTF – Local Sustainable Transport Fund – to address access to employment in Chester and Ellesmere Port.
LSTF is a Department of Transport Programme; aimed at achieving economic growth, job expansion and carbon reduction through generating sustainable journeys to work. Working in close partnership, Police and CWaC have used innovative bike micro-chipping in a crime prevention initiative helping to keep bikes safer. The successful project involves inserting microchips into bike-frames and registering details onto a national database – the National Mobile Property Register (NMPR) – so that if the bikes are stolen and recovered they can be scanned by any police force to reunite bikes and their owners.
Said Councillor Lynn Riley, Executive Member for Localities: “This is a very important initiative that builds on our cycling strategy. We are hoping to get more people on their bikes travelling confidently and safely to and from work, and I welcome the increased visibility of Police Officers on bikes to help promote safety.
“A great deal of planning has taken place and the Council has also completed an audit of crime hotspots and areas lacking in secure cycle parking and they will soon be fitted out with adequate provision.”
Cheshire Police attend all LSTF events to reinforce the message of individual home and work cycle crime reduction. PC Dan Reynolds of Chester Outer Neighbourhood Policing team said “We have been working with the Cheshire West and Chester itravelsmart team for the past 18 months, working on different ways to make our community feel safe and to be safe as they use sustainable transport options for work and pleasure.
“The project has enabled us to equip front line Police Officers from the Chester and Ellesmere Port areas with specifically designed patrol bikes so that they can be seen and be even more effective in their role as it allows us to get in and patrol areas that are simply not easily accessible in a patrol car. On the bikes we can engage with people, swiftly cover a wider area and the reception from the public has been great as they tell us that they feel we are more approachable. It is also part of our drive to use green alternatives and keeps us fit and healthy too!”
“We have also been chipping bikes so that we can instantly check ownership. This leads to less inconvenience for the public during stop checks and enables us to swiftly identify stolen property and reunite it to its rightful owner. This has already led to several successful prosecutions for handling stolen property and theft. The simple message is Don’t steal bikes from our communities – we will catch you.”