Posted: 12.10.21 at 23:40 by Christine Sexton - Local Democracy Reporting Service
THURROCK Council is to fund quad bikes for police officers to chase rogue bikers in £30,500 bid to crack down on off-road vehicles - with one of the borough's leading councillors praising the force for its efforts in the borough.
Last month Thurrock Nub News reported on police plans to step up their campaign against the nuisance.
Now the council has agreed with Essex Police to jointly fund quad bikes as part of Operation Caesar, and operation tackling nuisance vehicles and antisocial behaviour across the borough.
Reporting to the council’s cleaner greener safer overview and scrutiny Committee, District police commander Chief Insp Mark Barber, said high visibility patrols and support from specialist units had made a difference but looking to the future of the operation, he said: “Funding has been agreed with Thurrock Council to support the pilot for off-road quad bikes. We know that other police forces across the UK have been successful with this.
“This is about the local police trying something different. The notion has been supported by Essex police chief officers. It will be specific for Thurrock and to local residents.”
It is not yet clear how many quad bikes would be purchased but the council has agreed to commit £20,000 of capital and the Community Safety Partnership, of which the council is a member, will support the scheme with a further £10,500. Police will “resource and provide ongoing revenue costs”.
Patrols have been taking place every weekend in hotspots following 233 reports of nuisance vehicles.
Michelle Cunningham from the Thurrock Community Partnership told councillors there were “ongoing concerns in relation to antisocoal behaviour being caused by off road vehicles which we know are causing harassment alarm and distress to all our residents across the borough”.
Ms Cunningham added: “We all recognise it as a key priority. It is also very clearly the number one issue that I’m contacted about regularly by both members and residents. I think we’re all aware of the effect that the dangerous and reckless use of these vehicles in Thurrock has led to.
“We’ve seen criminal damage to other vehicles, damaged to land and surrounding property, as well as drivers and riders injuring themselves and other road users, cyclists, pedestrians in particular children, as well as pets being exercised in open areas.”
Chairman of the committee, Cllr Joy Redsell who hasd been an ardent campaigner against nuisance bikers, praised the operation and police. She told Mr Barber: “You’ve been doing such a lot but residents aren’t seeing what some of us are seeing in the area.
“I can only go by my area but we have got quad bikes carrying three and four year olds on the handlebars. Every time I’ve rung up, the police have been there. You've done such a lot of work. We have a lot to praise you for.”
Residents are urged to report any incidents to Essex Police by calling 101.
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