Agenda item

Nuisance Off Road Motor Bikes and Quads

Presentation by Nicola Bowman, Casualty Reduction Co-Ordinator, Durham Constabulary.


The Committee were provided with a presentation from Durham Constabulary - Casualty Reduction Co-ordinator which provided information on the following:


·       Background

·       Partnerships

·       What is Anti-Social use

·       Definition

·       Number of calls received

·       Seizures of vehicles

·       OP Endurance toolkit

·       Next steps

·       Motorcycle section

·       Reporting methods


Councillor Boyes indicated that this was a big issue, and the problem was that the legislation had not caught up with what was happening. He stated that young people were wearing ski masks on bikes, and they think they are untouchable and commented taking the bikes from them was no power as they were not bothered. He commented that if he were driving a car after drinking or taking drugs you would expect to be arrested and go to court and receive a custodial sentence but that was not the case for young people on bikes. He stated that they needed these powers and provided an example of someone who had to leave the area due to repercussions following an incident with someone on a bike. Until people saw custodial sentences or people being banned public reassurance was limited.


The Casualty Reduction Co-ordinator reassured the Member that a lot of intelligence gathering was going on, but they relied on people reporting incidents so that they could build the evidence. She understood the frustration and people were reluctant to come forward but there were other things they could do such as issuing warnings. She commented that central government made the legislation and their job was to enforce it.


Councillor Quinn referred to E-Scooters that are not illegal, but the issues were city centres where police have given a dispensation for companies to lease them out. He commented that there was no advertising to advise that these were illegal to drive on the public highway and this needed to be enforced and vendors should have to advise of this.


The Casualty Reduction Co-ordinator responded that these companies had set criteria where you had to hold a driving licence and by agreeing to hire you are covered on their insurance and adhere to their rules, the difference was that you were insured. A number of road safety groups were discussing E-Scooters and how to deal with the vendors.


Members discussed the recent incident at Sunderland where someone was killed using a E-Scooter.


Chief Superintendent Martin indicated that government legislation was catching up and her personal opinion was that they would see a tightening up of the legislation.


In response to a question from Councillor Quinn, the Casualty Reduction Co-ordinator indicated that 617 vehicles had been seized, 56 vehicles were seized under Section 59 and commented that some vehicles were taken post incident and a lot was going on in the background.


Councillor Quinn asked if Durham Constabulary had looked into buying their own recovery truck.


The Casualty Reduction Co-ordinator responded that they had a recovery system in place as it was not just about recovery it was also storage that came down to finances and indicated that this conversation had been held previously but was not currently an option.


Councillor Fenwick thanked the Officer for bringing Operation Endurance to Peterlee that had been amazing, they still had issues with some off-road bikes, but the main problem was quad bikes that were damaging the landscape that seemed to have ceased. She then referred to the gathering of information and asked if every police vehicle had a dashboard camera.


The Casualty Reduction Co-ordinator responded that not all vehicles had dash cameras, but all officers had body cameras that they would switch on and that footage would be shared.


Councillor Fenwick asked if dash cameras on all vehicles could be fed back.


Councillor Mavin commented that intelligence did work, and some information resulted in two bikes been crushed. He asked how many times someone could get a bike crushed.


The Casualty Reduction Co-ordinator indicated that they logged all the data, and this was included into the intelligence system which could be accessed by all police forces. The data could be used to look at things such as repeat offenders.


Councillor Miller asked if they had any data on the Section 59 notices issued by street wardens.


The Casualty Reduction Co-ordinator indicated that any notices issued were logged into the system and commented that wardens do not issue notices as often as they could but their increased use by wardens was an option moving forward.


Councillor Miller then referred to calls being higher in May this year, which was good, but people were still contacting local councillors. He commented that rural areas could not compete with bigger towns as they did not have the population to witness what was happening to report it.


The Casualty Reduction Co-ordinator referred to the Section 59 warning notices and indicted that it was not just the town they looked it was also the surrounding areas as it was the neighbourhood policing team’s responsibility.


In response to a question from Councillor Miller, the Casualty Reduction Co-ordinator advised that it was the same officers who ride off road bikes and on road bikes. The motorbike section day to day were on road bikes and indicated that off road bikes were not always the most effective to catch these types of vehicles they might go off road but were more around urban areas. The newest operations they were using both types of bikes to cover both aspects to reduce the numbers.


Councillor Sutton-Lloyd indicated that it came down to the number of issues been reported and he did not think the numbers reflected what was happening and advised that he had received six calls from residents just this weekend. He commented that they needed to see some enforcement and action on the ground to encourage people to report incidents. Some progress had been seen with the anti-social behaviour teams and the funding was starting to come through and commented that it had taken a year to get the multi action team to work together to resolve a problem in his area and indicated that it came down to education.


The Casualty Reduction Co-ordinator responded that they wanted to know what was happening and advised that they had a road safety package that they were putting into every secondary school and as part of that there was a section on off road bikes and the consequences. They also went into primary schools and gave the same information and shared some images of someone who had come off his bike. She indication that a lot of enforcement work was going on in the background and the neighbourhood teams do share information to members of the community. They did share a lot of information on Facebook and reminded members of the email contact.


Councillor Currah indicated that he had used the live chat to report an incident that was very good. He then referred to an incident where he was pursued by a bike for two hours.


The Casualty Reduction Co-ordinator indicated that she understood people’s reluctancy to report incidents and that was why the other reporting methods were crucial and that crime stoppers were ideal for people who did not want to be identified and asked members to relay this to their constituents.


In response to a question from Councillor Charlton the Casualty Reduction Co-ordinator confirmed that the police used drones and that the bike section was located at Spennymoor but were out and about every day.


Councillor McKenna indicated that if people reported the incidents the number of phone calls would be tripled, but people were scared to report the incidents due to the repercussions and asked if the recent incident in Cardiff had impacted on the mindset of officers.


The Casualty Reduction Co-ordinator indicated that it was a concern, but they all know there is a risk involved and be as professional as they can and do everything right. If things do go wrong, they have to deal with it, their aim was to protect the public and do what they could to uphold the law and ensure that people were safe and deal with those not complying with the law.


Councillor Nicholls indicated that the perception of the public was that the police do not care and were not pursuing people on bikes. He stated that the Police and Crime Panel were working extremely hard on this area of work and in his ward, they had eighteen anti-social behaviour incidents in a month, seventeen related to off road bikes. He continued that the method to report incidents was not available 24/7 and was not used much but the latest figures suggested a 30% increase in the reporting online and was a good method to contact the police. They were heading in the right direction and indicated that it was not just young people it was also older people offending. He asked what was being done regarding those older people and indicated that the bikes needed to be crushed so that they could not be sold on and asked when there would be a change in legislation so that they could crush these bikes.


The Casualty Reduction Co-ordinator responded that they dealt with incidents the same way regardless of age. They would love to crush every bike, but this was out of their hands and was a funding issue.


Councillor Heaviside referred to the Section 59 notices and indicated that the bike can be taken one day but they could get it back the next day but if they used the no insurance route as it was more likely to get the bike off the road and it being crushed.


The Casualty Reduction Co-ordinator commented that the Section 59 warning signs were perfect if the PCSO Officer could not get a police officer.


The Chair asked if Members could receive an update in six month’s time.


Resolved: (i) That the contents of the presentation be noted.


(ii) That the Committee receive an update report in six months’ time.

Supporting documents: