Police officers at Yorkshire’s biggest force are using electric assisted bikes to cover larger distances enabling them to be more visible on the beat, it has been revealed.
West Yorkshire Neighbourhood Policing Officers based in Kirklees have been using the bikes which the force has said are more effective for engaging with the public.
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “The Neighbourhood Policing Team make effective use of pedal cycles to maximise the visibility of their staff.
“In Kirklees they utilise electric assisted bikes which have the capability of covering larger distances and have proved more effective in community engagement and accessibility than police vehicles.”
The bikes are part of the West Yorkshire Police’s investment in developing its neighbourhood policing team.
A report seen by The Yorkshire Post reveals the force’s neighbourhood team now has 21 inspectors, 73 sergeants, 366 police constables and 603 PCSOs.
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Student officers ring-fenced to the neighbourhood team have also seen the number of PCs rise to 395.
As a result, the force said it has seen a reduction in crime with 1280 fewer criminal damage offences recorded in the 12 month period to October 2019 compared to the previous 12 months.
Reports of antisocial behaviour have also fallen from 13,654 between August and October 2018 to 13, 171 during the same period of time the following year.
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “The force is fully committed to investing in and developing neighbourhood officers, maintaining visibility, effectively engaging with communities and enhancing partnership working.
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“We recognise that prevention and early action reduces demand and improves outcomes for individuals.”
Commenting on the reduction in criminal damage and antisocial behaviour offences, the force added: “There remains strong evidence that neighbourhood policing is impactive and reducing demand.
“Despite this being one of the busiest periods of the year for policing, problem solving and intervention is proving effective in communities.”
West Yorkshire Police was recently rated outstanding in a new report as knife and gun crime across the county also continues to fall, bucking the national trend.
The force was graded as ‘outstanding’ for its efficiency, ‘good’ at reducing crime and keeping people safe, and ‘good’ for the way it treats the public and its workforce, following an inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service (HMICFRS).