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'Elf and safety' stops deployment of mountain bike officers...

A row has broken out in Northampton over health and safety training needed for bicycling police officers.

In an echo of a story we featured last year, claiming that a 93-page manual was going to be issued to all police officers using bikes (which turned out not to be quite the case), councillors have taken local bobbies to task for needing the training.

According to the Northampton Chronicle, people from Kingsley and Parklands were shocked when they were told that officers on mountain bikes wouldn't be deployed until the summer, after they'd had training.

Residents were told the news at a meeting chaired by borough councillor Malcolm Mildren, who described the situation as 'foolish'.

He told the paper: "People thought it was very strange when we were told the situation at the meeting. You would have thought riding a bike would be common sense, it's the kind of thing where you can either do it or you can't.

"I've not ridden a bike in years, but I'm pretty sure I could get on one and not be a total disaster."

A spokesman for Northamptonshire Police said officers had to undergo a 10-hour training course before being allowed to use bicycles on duty.

She said: "Officers need a 10-hour training course before going out on these bikes.

"The course covers issues relating to using a bike on patrol, including how to use the bike as defence if confronting an offender."

Last year, The Sun laid into a group of officers who had drawn up what appeared to be a lengthy guide to riding a bike. Of course, it wasn't just about riding a bike, but about tackling villains while on a bike, etc etc. The Association of Chief Police Officers appeared to withdraw support for it.