Police guidance for cycle cops ridiculed...again

Usual suspects line up to mock training manual

by Mark Appleton   February 7, 2011  

Police cycling patrol, pic Les Chatfield.jpg

As far as the national media is concerned we appear to have entered open season on cycling, with the Daily Telegraph the latest organisation to join in the fun.

The newspaper gets its teeth into a health-and-safety-gone-mad style rant about guidance dossiers compiled by UK police forces to be used by officers on bikes.

Different forces have put together their own documents or are using a manual which was developed by the Metropolitan Police after the Association of Chief Police Officer dropped plans to develop a single manual following a previous round of media ridicule in 2009. We covered that story at the time.

There’s an element of damned-if-you-do…about the Telegraph article – the Daily Mail naturally does a spot of bandwagon jumping – given that in 2007 a 21-year old Wigan-based Police Community Support Officer died on a bicycle patrol when he was hit by a tipper truck.

The Telegraph and Mail articles deem nutritional advice for cycling officers worthy of note as well as tips on how to avoid saddle soreness, insect strikes and chapped lips.

It’s the kind of advice you might find in any cycle magazine article aimed at beginners and as such we’d consider it perfectly reasonable guidance for people not used to spending many hours a day in the saddle.

Some of the other advice quoted falls into the category of statutory requirements which place a duty of care on any employer, obliging them to set out the risks associated with any work-related activity.

Certainly some of it could seem obvious to even non-cyclists, but in an increasingly litigious society can we really blame employers for trying to cover as many scenarios as possible?

Clearly the Telegraph and the Mail think so, and trot out the waste-of-taxpayers’-money line, attempting to bolster their case with a couple of rent-a-quote contributions.

Despite their previous unflattering article about his maxing out of parliamentary expenses, Andrew Rosindell, Conservative MP for Romford who also belongs to the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, provides the Telegraph with the requisite quote:

"This sounds like a complete waste of time and, most likely, money," he told the publication.

"I think most people learn the basics of riding a bike by the time they are seven and you tend not to forget."

Personally, I don’t recall, aged seven, being trained how to pursue a fleeing crim down a flight of steps, but perhaps I'm the exception.

Our new friends at the TaxPayers’ Alliance also chip in, feeding the Mail a line that they presumably adapt for whatever organisation happens to be in the firing line for one of their dead-sheep savagings.

The Alliance's Charlotte Linacre told the Mail: "Taxpayers want money spent on bobbies on the beat, not pointless bureaucracy."


14 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

A shame as police officers on bikes are accessible for the public than ones in a car, but still can get about fast to respond to incidents.
In fact I'm surprised the TaxPayers’ Alliance aren't big supporters of this value for money option with policing.

posted by thereverent [308 posts]
7th February 2011 - 12:55

1 Like

In fact I'm surprised the TaxPayers’ Alliance aren't big supporters of this value for money option with policing

you're confusing the taxpayer's alliance with an organisation that's actually in favour of taxation, i think. Thinking

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7437 posts]
7th February 2011 - 13:05

1 Like

Actually, all seven year olds do play at chasing criminals down steps, don't they?

posted by cowspassage [43 posts]
7th February 2011 - 14:02

1 Like

Hmm, myself and my seven year old son regularly ride our BMX bikes down a set of concrete steps on the way home from the skateboard park - brightens up a dull ride home - we also have 'bunnyhop street' where the trick is to jump the bike over each speed hump. (This is all carried out on sections with no pedestrian/vehicle trqaffic at the weekend.)
So yes, my seven year old is trained to ride down steps.


posted by OldRidgeback [2242 posts]
7th February 2011 - 16:04

1 Like

I pre-date both BMX and mountain bikes. The Vindec Speedster was not a machine renowned for its urban freestyle abilities.

posted by Mark Appleton [554 posts]
7th February 2011 - 16:33

1 Like

Anyway to follow Andrew Rossindell's logic a police driver passed his test at 17 surely he learned all he needs to know and won't have forgotten anything no need for any extra training there either. I feel a lot safer already.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4147 posts]
7th February 2011 - 17:58

1 Like

Those kind of journos are generally old, overweight, opinionated fag suckers too lazy to source a real issue to report.

predominately men too, it has to be said... does that say something about men in general??


posted by Michael5 [121 posts]
7th February 2011 - 18:38

1 Like

The Telegraph will equally do a Meldrew when beat officers crash into pedestrians driving beyond their capabilities, and doubtless will have great respect for the standards of driving exemplified by Class 1 Police Instructors for car and motorcycle - graduates from Tullieallan and Hendon - now if Police cyclists were trained at the same places?

The Police have to be exemplars in any activity using a vehicle on the road, and the toll of pedestrians killed or injured by Police drivers failing to observe s.72 of 1835 Highways Act*, suggests that we still have some improvement to make with standards for car and motorcycle use. Readers of the Telegraph and Mail should be familiar with s.72, as they repeatedly call for tougher enforcement, but only for cyclists. Fortunately we have the promise of a new law in Scotland which will tackle the 'cheat' factor that the driver of a car parked on the footway has committed the offence but can only be prosecuted if caught in the act of driving the car on the footway.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [494 posts]
7th February 2011 - 19:25

1 Like

Mark - I predate BMXs too but decided this was something worth trying. So I did and it is.


posted by OldRidgeback [2242 posts]
8th February 2011 - 8:34

1 Like

Yup, people reach a cycling skills peak at 7, it's all down hill from there *imagines a TDF consisting purely of 7 year olds*. This guidance stuff sounds like every other area of work nowadays. I mean we were given guidance a work recently that said not to get into unmarked cars driven by strangers. I think I remember being told that at age 7 as well come to think about it...

posted by jwlademann [5 posts]
8th February 2011 - 10:12

1 Like

wow, cycling england have been getting it wrong.

Cycle training for years 3 and upwards - they are already accomplished, experienced, safe cyclists by then. Why bother.

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
8th February 2011 - 10:40

1 Like

DM and Telegraph: just another cycling related garbage from papers whose intention is only to give voice in the comments section to the anti-cycling low IQ fat biggots that read said garbage. That's all. They are not informative, they have no other purpose.

"Just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints".

LondonCalling's picture

posted by LondonCalling [146 posts]
8th February 2011 - 12:29

1 Like

I don;t think the Telegraph are too anticycle, but they are certainly very procar, and this could represent a problem for the cops out there doing a job. Their authority and power may now be seen as diminished because of the way the papers have handled the story.

The guidence given doesnt seem that bad to me. It all seems pretty logical, many cyclecops may not be procycling outside of the job and may indeed need that beginners advice.

downfader's picture

posted by downfader [204 posts]
8th February 2011 - 19:47

1 Like

Perhaps a few of our elected representatives, as well as a few more journalists should join me and some of my colleagues on a training session for bike patrol. They might learn the important lesson- speak only about stuff you know of.

posted by fuzzy [67 posts]
8th February 2011 - 20:41

1 Like