Police plan off-road bike park to help stamp out nuisance riders in Sunderland and South Tyneside

Police are exploring options to develop a dedicated facility for off-road motorcycles to help reduce antisocial behaviour in local communities.

By Chris Binding
Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 5:06 pm

Motorcycle disorder is a regular topic at council meetings across Tyne and Wear, with concerns over speeding, noise and public safety.

Despite schemes being rolled out in an attempt to better identify riders and vehicles, the issue still takes up a large amount of police resource.

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A picture posed by Northumbria Police of an officer tackling a problem rider.

As part of an alternative approach to dealing with the issue, Northumbria Police hopes to follow in the footsteps of police in Scotland by developing a dedicated motorcycle facility.

This aims to divert off-road motorbikes, and the associated issues they cause, away from populated areas to a site where riders can use the vehicles safely.

Plans for such a facility were raised at a Sunderland North Area Committee meeting.

Although the full details are to be confirmed, city councillors heard the force is looking to acquire a plot of land near South Tyneside, Sunderland and Gateshead.

A further update on the project was given to South Tyneside Council’s Hebburn Community Area Forum on Monday, October 18.

Neighbourhood Inspector, Denise Easdon, said a meeting is expected to take place this month to provide more information on the scheme, how it has worked in practice in Scotland and the challenges/issues.

It is understood that the proposals are still being developed and are subject to further decision-making.

However the overall aim would be to try to “replicate” the off-road bike facility project within the Northumbria Police force area.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, welcomed the force exploring new options to tackle antisocial behaviour.

“Dangerous off-road motor-biking is a problem that needs a long-term solution,” she said.

“I know Northumbria Police are taking proactive measures to identify those responsible and , where necessary, take away the bikes involved.

“But as well as that police response, we also need to look at wider changes, and part of that means looking to see if young people can be taught to enjoy motorbikes without causing disruption to others. So it’s great the police are exploring these options.

“For me, that is how our region needs to approach antisocial behaviour.

“Yes, there will sometimes need to be a police response, but alongside that there needs to be joined up work from councils, youth services, housing providers and others to tackle the causes of anti-social behaviour.

“I know our councils in Northumberland [and] Tyne and Wear are committed to this, and I look forward to working with them.”

A Northumbria Police spokesperson added: “We know that the antisocial behaviour of a minority can have an adverse effect on the communities we serve and we are committed to taking action against those involved.

“As a force, we work closely with our local authorities and other partners to tackle bike-related anti-social behaviour and have had a number of recent successes – but we will not be complacent.

“We will continue to review and use all tactics at our disposal to tackle this issue, and would as ever ask the community to work with us.

“If you know the identity of these riders, or know where bikes are being stored overnight, please report it to police.”

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