New van helps police tackle the menace of illegal motorbikers

AT FIRST sight, it may seem unremarkable – but a humble new van is helping a police crackdown on the illegal motorbiking menace.
Technology: Police get new equipment for fight against crimeTechnology: Police get new equipment for fight against crime
Technology: Police get new equipment for fight against crime

The van has acquired using money from the Government’s so-called ‘grip’ fund, cash allocated to forces to help crack down on anti-social behaviour hot spots.

What makes it special is that it is being used to help transport the South Yorkshire Police off-road bike squad around.

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They now use electric bikes, allowing them to sneak-up on offenders without noisy engines giving away their presence.

But electric bikes have a limited range, so transporting them to patrol locations by van helps ensure they have the capacity for riders to do their work without running out of fuel.

The off-road bike team has been highly successful in challenging illegal bikers, who cause a disturbance and danger in many communities across the county. They are able to seize, and in some cases destroy, bikes used by offenders.

They can be all the more effective if used in conjunction with police drones, which allow officers to monitor the movements of offenders, in safety and unseen, before guiding in colleagues on bikes to take action.

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Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings said: “The off-road bike team is one of the most popular things they have.”

The unit was stretched because there were demands from all areas of the county for their presence, he said.

"You have the possibility of people being observed by drone and an off road bike then coming up silently.”