It appears that it’s not just the neighbourhood beat that’s getting a pounding from some of London’s more burly police officers, with the news that their bikes are to be upgraded to tougher models after wheels buckled and spokes broke due to the weight being placed on them.
According to the Evening Standard, the issue came to light after what is said to be a “large number” of bills for repair for work carried out by Brixton Cycles for police constables and PCSOs were left unpaid due to the required paperwork being missing.
An anonymous employee at the shop told the newspaper: “We see the officers in regularly for maintenance work and a lot of them are big guys.
“They burn through brakes and chains, especially in this weather when they salt the roads. We get police guys who weigh 16 stone and then have to carry 20 kilograms of gear.
“It's amazing how much effort these guys exert zooming around after criminals.
“The one thing the bike cops destroy with alarming frequency is their rear wheels, and that's due to the weight they are carrying.”
The shop employee added: “They are up to date with all their bills now.”
With a full service at the shop costing £70, police in Lambeth are now understood to be looking at swapping their existing bikes, made by Smith & Wesson of Dirty Harry fame – the largest handgun manufacturer in the US, it now also supplies law enforcement agencies with equipment such as bikes – for police bikes made by Trek.
The Evening Standard reports that Trek has been selected because police chiefs believe that the bikes are “durable, sturdy and practical,” are likely to have less of a requirement for servicing than the Smith & Wesson models, distributed here by Cycle Force UK, which come in at around about the same price point of £750.
While recommending the bike, comments made on the US law enforcement community website Police Link regarding Trek police bikes do raise the suspicion that any potential servicing savings might be minimal, however, with one saying “Good strong bike with a smooth and silent ride. High maintenace [sic] but will last as long as you take care of it,” a sentiment echoed by another user of the site who says, “they really last if you maintain them.”
The unpaid invoices were revealed as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request for minutes of an internal police briefing, and a spokeswoman for Lambeth police told the newspaper: “There are no outstanding invoices for Brixton Cycles and officers in Lambeth have been reminded of the correct procurement process.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.