Non-cyclists, eh? They just don't get it
HOW MUCH? - POLICE IN BIKE ROW
09:00 - 18 April 2008
Police are under fire for asking for £2,700 to cover the cost of two mountain bikes.
Brockworth councillors say they can't understand why Gloucestershire police won't get cheaper ones.
Mike Collins, a Tewkesbury borough councillor for the area, said he and other councillors had raised £500 towards the bicycles.
He said they had been happy to help buy the bikes for three police community support officers to get around the Brockworth, Witcombe, Shurdington and Badgeworth areas.
PCSOs have to raise the money for bikes themselves.
They wanted them so they wouldn't have to get around by bus.
But Coun Collins (Lib Dem, Brockworth) was shocked to learn that the amount needed was £2,700 because the bikes had to come from a German firm, the PCSOs had to have safety equipment and had to go on a training course.
He said: "We said why not just go to Halfords and get some cheaper ones? [wallymart for you non-poms]
"But they said they were not allowed to do that.
"It's strange when you're trying to do something for your community and you're prevented from doing it by red tape."
Jim Hunt, chairman of Brockworth Parish Council, said: "If it's just a bicycle to get from A to B, then surely they could have got a cheaper one."
Gloucestershire Police said each bike cost about £700. The type used had been chosen after trials were carried out.
Spokeswoman Alexa Collicott said £700 was not much for a quality bike and the Gloucestershire force did not spend money lightly.
She said: "We do invest in high performance push-bikes for areas of the county, where it's deemed necessary, to make policing more effective.
"The bikes have specialist kit on them and as they are used every day they must therefore be robust and able to cross rough and varied terrains.
"We will continue to make good use of these bikes as they are particularly effective when targeting issues such as anti-social behaviour."
She added that of the 40 police bikes in the county, only 13 had been paid for by the constabulary. The rest had been externally funded.
There are 163 PCSOs in the county. Of the 13 bikes paid for by the force, they are used by both full-time officers and PCSOs.