Police guide to riding a bicycle given thumbs down

Author: By Chris Greenwood, Press Association

The 93-page full-colour guide, which comes in two volumes, gives advice on how
to balance so officers do not fall off.

The book, titled the Police Cycle Training Doctrine, also covers key skills
such as how to brake, turn and avoid the kerb.

Officers were told to eat and drink because they will get hungry and to wear
padded shorts to protect their bottoms.

It also warned officers not to arrest suspects while in the saddle, or, in
their words, “engaged with the cycle”.

Undercover officers were told they may have to go without a helmet to avoid
arousing suspicion, but they should make a “risk assessment”.

The guidance was drawn up by a group of cycling enthusiasts working for police
forces around England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

They submitted it to the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), which
co-ordinates police strategy.

London Mayor Boris Johnson, a keen cyclist, suggested too much public money
had been spent on the guide.

He said: “I am sure it is of great value, I haven’t seen it, but I think you
can do this kind of thing much, much more cheaply.”

The Tory politician added he is sure it is “very, very sound advice” that
officers should dismount before tackling suspects.

Mark Wallace, campaign director at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “This guide
is an absurd waste of police time and taxpayers’ money.

“Police officers are perfectly capable of riding a bike and already get health
and safety training, and don’t need a lecture in common sense from a trade
lobby of senior police officers.

“It’s no wonder we haven’t got enough bobbies on the beat if our officers are
having to spend time and energy wading through this sort of nonsense.”

An Acpo spokeswoman declined to provide a copy of the guide and said she was
not aware who wrote it.

She said: “This work was neither requested nor drawn up by Acpo and we do not
endorse it.

“It was put forward by a group of well-meaning police officers with an
interest in this area. Acpo will not be taking it forward.”

Sergeant Rob Thorpe, of North Yorkshire Police, is a member of the police
national working group for cycling training and contributed to the book.

The officer, who has provided specialist training to help police on mountain
bikes navigate the countryside, declined to comment.

Greg Woodford, a cycle trainer at CTC, the UK’s national cyclists’
organisation, said adequate cycle training already exists.

He said: “Although I’ve not seen the full 93-page report, I would say that
cycle training is very important for all cyclists, whether they are police
officers or members of the public.

“I would like to remind Acpo that the national standard for cycle training
covers all the basics of cycling skills and road sense.

“I’d recommend all police cyclists pass their level three and encourage Acpo
to work alongside what has already been developed.

“After that police cyclists can then be equipped with the specialist training
they need to do their job in today’s traffic conditions.”

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