Operation Bluenose leaves law-breaking cyclists red-faced
Concerns about cyclists flouting the law, which were raised at a public meeting of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Essex, have led to a successful police crackdown on anti-social riders.
Members of the public joined local councillors and others for the meeting held back in January hosted by PCC for Essex Nick Alston. Held at Chase High School in Westcliff, the event was one of Mr Alston’s regular monthly meetings where he visits each district in the county to hear from residents about their crime and policing related concerns.
Residents said they had cause to make regular complaints about cyclists flouting the law by riding on pavements in Westcliff, Southend High Street and the seafront. They asked for police action to address the issue and feared a pedestrian could have faced serious injury if the problem persisted. As Mr Alston was joined at the meeting by several police officers – including roads policing officer Sgt Danny Parsons – they soon put action in to place.
Essex Police launched a crackdown on the problem – codenamed Operation Bluenose – which ran over three days in the Southend borough. The action aimed to deal with localised cycling issues covering London Road in Westcliff, Southend High Street and the seafront.
Officers beefed up their patrols, including during the evening period, to target cyclists riding anti-socially on footpaths, pavements and those failing to use lamps, as required by law, during the hours of darkness.
As a result of the action 107 cyclists were hit with a Traffic Offence Report, which results in a later fine or prosecution. A further 35 riders completed a retraining course rather than facing prosecution. One cyclist, who had no headlamps, was also arrested after it was discovered the individual was wanted for theft.
On top of the action on the ground, Essex Police has also carried out a force-wide briefing, educating officers around their powers in using traffic offence reports to address anti-social cycling.
Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said:
“The success of Operation Bluenose is two-fold.”
He goes on to say:
“Firstly it demonstrates that the concerns raised by residents at my public meetings really are listened to and acted upon. I have always strived to give the public of Essex a real voice in policing, and here it is in action. Furthermore, the police action has also demonstrated to not only those cyclists caught flouting the law, but also the wider riding community, that they too have a responsibility to other road users to ensure they ride safely and considerately at all times. This action was not taken to punish cyclists, but rather to educate them around their own safety. I hope they and other road users will continue to work with Essex Police to improve the safety of our county’s roads.”
Adam Pipe, Essex Police’s Casualty Reduction Manager, said: “In order to continue to reduce the number of fatal and serious injury collisions on our roads, all road users must play their part. As well as providing enforcement action, Operation Bluenose also, crucially, provided cyclists with an opportunity to attend an educational course to improve their safety and road awareness.”
Operation Bluenose was carried out over three days in March.