An armed police officer from Merseyside Police has been disciplined after wandering into a bike shop to look at the bicycles on display with his sidearm still on his belt. In a separate incident, another member of the force has been arrested in connection with the alleged theft of a bicycle.
Many cyclists who have found themselves passing a bike shop while on work time will have popped in to have a quick look at the goods on offer, but according to the Liverpool Echo, the entry of the armed officer into Formby Cycles on Altcar Road, Formby, unsurprisingly raised eyebrows.
One eyewitness said: “When I saw an armed officer walk in, I thought something might have been wrong so I hung around to watch.” As you do. “But he was just in there like a normal customer, looking at what bikes they had. These guys should be out on patrol, doing their job and fighting gun crime, not shopping for bikes,” he added.
The unnamed officer’s colleague remained outside in their unmarked police car, but like his bike-keen colleague, who according to the newspaper spent a “considerable time” ogling bicycles in the shop, he too has been reprimanded.
Chief Inspector Mark Stanton, head of firearms for Merseyside Police, commented: “I would like to apologise to the local community for the behaviour of these officers.
“As soon as the matter was brought to our attention, we immediately spoke to the officers who admitted that they should not have stopped at the shop while they were out on patrol.
“They have been given strong management advice and are fully aware that their actions did not reflect well on themselves, their colleagues or the force.
“They are in no doubt that their future conduct is under close scrutiny.
“While this behaviour is disappointing, the overwhelming majority of my staff are both conscientious and committed to protecting the public and providing an excellent policing service to our communities.”
Meanwhile, the Liverpool Echo reports that another Merseyside Police officer who serves on the Roads Policing Unit was arrested on Monday regarding the alleged theft of a bicycle.
A spokeswoman for the force told the Liverpool Echo: “The arrest follows an investigation into allegations about the theft of a bicycle in Southport on July 23.
“The officer, who is 49 years old, has been arrested and released on police bail pending further enquiries.
“He has been suspended from duty while the allegation of theft is investigated.”
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.