Rogue riders in South Tyneside face having bikes fitted with tracking devices under proposals by police commissioner
Reckless riders face being having their bikes fitted with tracker devices under proposals set out by the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner.
Kim McGuinness has called on the Government to urgently introduce new bike laws as police chiefs brace themselves for a rise in nuisance rider complaints with the onset of spring.
The problem has long been a bugbear in South Tyneside, and the commissioner believes trackers would be a useful tool in tackling the issue.
She says she is working closely with Northumbria Police’s Chief Constable to tackle residents’ concerns of bike-related antisocial behaviour, adding said the issue will remain a top priority for the force.
Now Ms MGuinness is urging Policing Minister Kit Malthouse to give the green light to allow for tracker devices to be fitted to all motorbikes so their whereabouts and speed can be monitored.
"I’m hearing from residents that reckless riding is happening far too often and it’s happening in our parks and residential streets - the very places where people are enjoying walks and families are playing,” said Ms McGuiness.
"These are things people should be able to do safely – they shouldn’t have to worry about off-road bikes speeding by and ramping up pavements.”
She added: “There have been some positive results lately but I want us to be able to do more. We need to think differently if we are going to put a stop to the problem once and for all and this is where trackers could come in. Our police are confident they could make a real difference.”
However, the commissioner did stress she was not referring to well behaved bikers.
“I don’t mean our law-abiding bikers here – I’m talking about trouble-makers, often young people riding un-roadworthy bikes, which in some cases have been stolen,” she said.
"It’s their own safety that is at risk here too – worryingly there’s a real lack of awareness of the consequences. A tough approach needs to be taken and I fully back our force with this, especially when engagement and education isn’t getting through to those responsible.
“But what I really want is to go a step further and I believe trackers would be a real deterrent. There is a growing sense of momentum in our region to put a stop to this problem. I want to build on this and think Government support to make trackers a real possibility would be a good place to start.”
Ms McGuinness said a tough range of policing measures are already underway and will be built upon as we head into the summer months.
Tactics include hotspot patrols, garage checks, underage petrol test purchases and educational campaigns.
Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “This type of antisocial behaviour continues to be a real concern for us in South Tyneside where we have seen these off-road bikes being ridden recklessly through our residential areas and churning up our green spaces.
“This not only affects the quality of life for our residents, but there is a danger that someone will get hurt, whether that is a member of the public or the rider themselves.
“Our parks and open spaces have proven to be valuable places for people to get their exercise over a very challenging year and we want them to be safe sites to visit.
"Any extra measures that can be put in place to tackle the issue of nuisance bikers would be greatly welcomed.”
If you want to send pictures, video or intelligence to the task-force then you can do so by emailing [email protected]
You can also call 101 and asking to speak to the Operation Benelli team or your local Neighbourhood Team or report information online at the Northumbria Police website.