Neighbourhood bobbies back on their bike

RICHARD PARR In a move that would make Dixon of Dock Green proud, beat bobbies in north Norfolk are pushing their pedals in a new environmentally-friendly initiative.

RICHARD PARR

In these days of high speed vehicles and satellite navigation systems, the humble bicycle might appear to be part of all our yesterdays.

But in a move that would make Dixon of Dock Green proud, beat bobbies in north Norfolk are

pushing their pedals in a new environmentally-friendly initiative.

Putting safer neighbourhood team officers back into it the saddle is receiving a positive feedback from the public because they are more accessible, visible and approachable than officers in patrol cars.

The scheme has the full backing of Viscount Coke, of Holkham Hall,

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and the estate has funded the £700-plus cost of a new mountain bike, complete with necessary accessories.

It will be available for use by the Wells area SNT, which comprises three police community support officers, a dedicated beat officer and a sergeant who together cover 13 parishes.

Yesterday, the Holkham Estate cycle was officially handed over by Viscount Coke who said he felt it was an excellent idea to have police personnel on bicycles. Cycles

are also in use in other parts of Norfolk.

Wells beat officer PC Lee Anderton said that cycling had obvious advantages.

During the summer in Wells, when the town is full of vehicles, it is much easier to get around the town on two wheels rather than four.

He said: "The public really seem to like the fact that officers are more visible, and if they have any concerns they can stop them and speak directly to them."

The team of PCSOs covering the Wells area is made up of Andy Dixon, Emma Hendry-Smith and Mike Blowers.

Mr Dixon is a keen cyclist himself and is full of praise for the idea of using them on patrol.

He said: "I think it is a great

idea and makes us much more accessible to the public - and

it helps us keep fit as well."

Mr Dixon, 40, who was one of the first 12 PCSOs in Norfolk five

years ago, said he felt the

public now much more accepted their role in supporting police officers.

PC Anderton said that although society had vastly changed from the days of Sgt Dixon of the famed fictional television series, putting officers on bikes was a return to the past but in an up-dated way.

"Obviously, the cycles are not intended as a replacement for the patrol car in the fight against crime, but they are an additional piece of equipment for police to use to get around their parishes," he said.

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