A new North Yorkshire Police team will see officers go off-road to tackle crime and safeguard vulnerable people.
The force’s off-road motorcycle team of specially-trained officers will deploy across the county, including the Yorkshire Dales.
Anti-social behaviour and crime associated with motorcycles is an emerging trend nationally. It affects both urban and rural areas, causing disruption to residents and damage to wildlife and landscapes.
North Yorkshire Police received more than 100 calls about incidents linked to off-road bikes between April and July 2020.
Working alongside local Neighbourhood Policing Teams and the force’s Rural Taskforce, officers on the new team will look to engage with and educate users of off-road motorcycles, and enforce the law where required.
In addition, they can use their specialist skills to deploy to hard-to-reach areas, search for missing people, tackle rural and wildlife crime, deter cross-border criminality, and support community events.
Four new riders have recently passed the rigorous College of Policing training, bringing the total number of officers to seven. The team operates Honda CR250L motorbikes.
Inspector Kevin Kelly, who developed and implemented the team, said: “I’m immensely proud of the team. This is arguably one of the most physically demanding roles in policing, and the officers have put a huge amount of work in to develop their skills and resilience.
“Completion of this project has come about through partnership working with South Yorkshire Police, who have helped with training and mentoring, and the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner who has provided funding for the riders’ safety kit.
“The team is now in a position to support a range of policing operations in urban and rural areas – from busy town centres to remote National Parks. I know they will make a real difference in our communities.”
Among the team is Harrogate-based PC Ellie Cooke, who – when she’s not policing North Yorkshire – is an avid enduro rider.
Ellie was the 2019 British Ladies Enduro Champion, and the British Ladies Sprint Champion in 2019 and 2020.
She said: “When I heard about the off-road motorcycle team, I knew that this would be the perfect role me, as I could transfer my off-road riding skills into work.
“I knew from a young age I wanted to be a police officer, and there is nothing better than being able to do the job I love while riding a motorbike! I am looking forward to my new role in the team, and I am excited to see what we can achieve together.”