Police motorcycle unit to be scrapped

Dumfries & Galloway axes motorcycle unit to save financial resources

DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY'S police motorcycle unit is to be scrapped in a bid to save financial resources.

Currently, the policemen on bikes were set to retire by the end of next year and it is decided that they will not be replaced due to budget pressures clouding over the local force.

Also, their motorcycles are due to be changed but won’t be replaced either.

Councillors will contribute up to £111,000 each year towards the force’s estimated budget saving target of £6.7m over the next four years.

Inpector Neil Hewitson, in his report to the police committee, said that a review of the Motorcycle Unit has been carried which says there were “significant potential savings to the force should a decision be made not to replace the officers and equipment and in essence discontinue the unit”.

He said these “amounted to around £111,000 in the forthcoming financial year”.

Nevertheless, Inspector Hewitson mentioned the loss of the Unit’s presence on the roads and safety inputs such as the popular Bike Safe scheme and major events such as cycle races.

He said: “Given this, alternative provision as scoped and, after discussion with the force Road Policing Unit, the Institute of Advanced Motorists and Strathclyde Police, it was established that the services provided by the Unit could be undertaken by other providers to a great extent.

“It was accepted within this that, should recourse be made to Strathclyde Police, there would be a charge for the service, however given the relatively small number of events, this did not unduly affect the potential overall financial saving.”

Dumfries and Galloway is the latest to scrap their police motorcycle unit. Last year, Northumbria Police dissolved their motorcycle unit on health and safety grounds, due to poor weather conditions.

Staffordshire Police took the same move as the force battled to slash budget. Brighton and Hove’s paramedics on bikes scheme was axed after it turned out it was not a good financial use of resources.

According to Inspector Hewitson, the unit will be dissolved once the first office retires in April 2011.