Wakefield Bike Team To Triple In Size In Drive To Catch More Rogue Riders
Tuesday 11 December 2018
A police bike team which has caught hundreds of rogue riders is to operate seven days a week for the first time after expanding following major investment.
Wakefield Police’s Operation Matrix off road team is now to triple in size from two to six officers following investment from police and partners.
Two new Honda CR250f off road motorbikes have also been added to the fleet, thanks to funding from Wakefield District Housing, providing capability for each of Wakefield’s three NPT’s to have two dedicated off road officers.
The newly enhanced team is now comprised of three police officers and three PSCO’s, making West Yorkshire Police one of the first UK police forces to deploy PCSO’s in this way.
Over the course of 2018 the team has experienced some of its busiest week and month long periods since its inception, and has been responsible for prosecutions progressing through the courts on a monthly basis.
It has also carried out a number of specialist all day long operations on estates in Wakefield, Castleford and Pontefract which have suffered from nuisance bike issues.
Matrix riders also carried out two medical rescues over the summer months, including one on a track in Kirkthorpe in May in which they scrambled to find walkers who had got into difficulty in a remote area.
The bike officers were the only emergency service resource which could reach the walkers at short notice, and ended up providing them with water before guiding them to waiting emergency services.
Inspector Martin Moizer of the Wakefield North East NPT, said: “These changes will make a real difference to our off road capability significantly enhancing what is already a major asset for our district.
“We work in partnership with Wakefield District Housing to reduce anti-social behaviour on estates and the off road team have played a significant role in deterring off road related anti-social behaviour.
“The fact that we will be able to offer that capability day and afternoon, seven days a week can only be a good thing for communities and a very bad one for those who break the law and risk public safety."
Gary Lumb, Community Safety Manager (Neighbourhoods), for WDH, said: “WDH fully understand the problems caused by the illegal use of motorbikes and the disruption this behaviour can cause within neighbourhoods.
“We are therefore very pleased to support the Police in targeted action against those responsible and are confident that these additional resources will go a long way towards improving the quality of life for Wakefield residents.”
Assistant Chief Constable Catherine Hankinson of West Yorkshire Police, said: “I want to thank partners from Wakefield District Housing for providing this extra funding to assist Wakefield Police in expanding its off road Matrix Team.
“A number of other policing districts including Kirklees and Bradford also operate off road bike teams, proving how successful the concept has been in reducing motorcycle related anti-social behaviour.
“These officers provide a visible deterrent and adding PCSO’s who are embedded in local communities to the team will only increase its efficiency.”