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Cops use Olympic wheels to nab island’s villains
AN Olympic legacy has been left in Castle Point where police can be seen out on Olympic bikes.
A team of ten cycling officers was set up as part of London 2012, but is now set to remain in place.
In the past month they have caught five suspected burglars and conducted regular patrols around antisocial behaviour hotspots.
Sgt Marc McQuade, of Benfleet police, said they had used bicycles occasionally before the Olympics, but now it was every day.
He said: “Because of the Olympics, we were given cycling equipment conducive to cycling in the heat. Before we would do some cycling, but it would be in our normal uniform. Now we’ve got proper shorts and waterproofs.”
He said it had particularly helped where there are alleyways they can use, including around the Winter Gardens estate.
He said: “When you’re in a car you drive past and might miss things. Recently we got someone going around the streets and in the alleyways on a child’s motorised bike with no insurance and no tax. He has been reported for traffic offences.”
He added officers had been covering up to 20 miles a day.
They had focused on Winter Gardens and around the Freshway store, in Third Avenue, which has suffered problems with antisocial behaviour. Groups of teenagers hang around outside, which can be intimidating to passers-by.
Sgt McQuade said: “There’s an awful lot of nice people over there and they just want more of a visible presence, and when you’re in a car they don’t see you.
“When you’re cycling slowly past these places they see you often. The more they see us at Freshway, the better it is for the community because it puts off the youths who create problems.”
Officers also say because they are so visible they are flagged down by members of the public, who give them intelligence.
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