12 November 2009

93 Page Bicycle Manual for Police

Bicycle policemen.

"The Police Cycle Training Doctrine" is a 93 page instruction manual, produced by 'well-meaning officers' in the UK.

Basically, 93 pages - in two volumes! - about how to ride a bicycle. Needless to say, the British press are having a field day.

The Daily Mail's article is titled: Police officers get 93-page guide ... on how to ride a bike (and it cost thousands of pounds to produce) and The Guardian has its Police beat off criticism about 93-page manual on how to ride a bike article. The Sun is ... well... rather 'Sunnish' by writing, "The bonkers bike book for bobbies"

Taxpayers' Alliance campaign director Mark Wallace said: "This is an absurd waste of police time and thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money.

"Police officers are perfectly capable of riding a bike. It's no wonder we haven't enough on the beat if they are having to spend time and energy wading through this nonsense."

A Home Office source added: "Most of the red tape the police complain about is actually created by the cops themselves. This is a particularly bad example."


Thanks to readers Kevin and Padhraig for the tip.


Klaus Mohn said...

I don't think I trust the British press more than I trust the police. They're not saying what the thousand quid actually paid for. Boris has it right when he says it's probably useful; hell it could be copypaste from Sheldon Brown's website and it'd be useful. I think getting more police officers to embrace the bicycle in their line of work (and in their personal life)can only have positive consequences; more cops on bikes, more understanding of what a cyclist needs to do to navigate the city.
Good for those well-meaning officers. Screw the Daily Mail and the Sun, and their readers.

Tim Beadle said...

Also, don't trust the
car-supremacist Taxpayers' Alliance.

While riding a bike isn't complicated in itself, being a bike cop is slightly more involved and anything that gives them more confidence to do their job is probably a good thing, especially as they may not ride outside work and may not have ridden for a while.

LGV said...

It's super fun ! less for trees than for me, but i like the fact that they need to learn how to ride ! maybe it's harder to ride with a policeman suit and a gun...

lagatta à montréal said...

Actually using the bicycle as a police tool is far more complex than learning to pedal - for benign uses such as providing a police presence and eyes on the street but also for what is euphemistically called "crowd control" - I've seen police using their bicycles as weapons against peaceful demonstrators, and rather fear what could happen at Copenhagen.

"Thousands of pounds" is meaningless - production of ANY document will cost that nowadays. I compiled a document for a federation of a specific type of association, and obviously the tab for my writing, someone else's correction, feedback, layout and printing costs something.

Hmm, Klaus, I mourn Sheldon too, but he was rather too contemptuous of so-called women's frames. Alas he died before his joints got so creaky that a step-through would prove a godsend.

With the Albert Heijn sign, assume the police in the pic are Dutch? I'd wanted to take pics of the police on bicycles near where I was staying, but one never knows if police will think you are taking picks to accuse them of some misdoing and turn very nasty, friendly and laid-back as they seemed.

Marchie said...

I personally own a 250-page manual on how to ride a bike, as I'm sure do many other cyclists - it's called 'Cyclecraft' by John Franklin.

Although it would seem that there has been a duplication of effort here by the police, the way it has been reported is so typical of the British press. '[Public body] wastes an ambiguously-quantified sum of your money on X' - I'm sure there's a story in the tabloids along these lines on a daily basis. Of course, everyone knows that bobbies should be on the 'beat' like they were in the good old days when there wasn't any crime whatsoever, and anyone who thinks differently is an idiot.

'93 page guide just to ride a bike? i learnt to ride i bike when i was 5 and i dint need no 93 page book lol'. Do these sound like the informed musings of someone who has ever cycled in traffic? Maybe training isn't necessary - I've not undertaken training myself and I am comfortable riding in traffic - however I don't see how it can do any harm. Yet such inflammatory articles only serve to reinforce rather than challenge ignorant views of the world. Clearly, the audience these articles are aimed at see cycling as something that one does as a child, or perhaps as a sport or a hobby - they don't share our view, our ambition for cycling to be seen as a mainstream means of transport.

John the Monkey said...

It is quite possible, sadly, in the UK that the average Police officer hasn't so much as seen a bike since their earliest formative years.

There are also some Police duty specific things they should be aware of, I've no doubt. I can't see the harm, personally, although giving them a copy of cyclecraft, and mebbe a few pages related to the apprehension of footpads and sundry ne'erdowaells could be more cost effective.

Anonymous said...

Apparently the people who did it, did it voluntarily, on their own initiative - well done them, I say and crap on the senior officers' cowardice for distancing themselves.
No-one thinks it's odd to have a police CAR driving manual, and cars are only expected to stay on the road; bike cops have to interact a lot more with many people at close-quarters, and of course are going to end up pursuing people who are on foot.
Or let's say a bike cop sees a truck driver doing something positively dangerous; you need to know what's the most effective & safe procedure for flagging down the truck, for making it pull over - surely totally different if you're on a bike.

Paul said...

The Guardian piece about this (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2009/nov/12/cycling-police-sun-boris-johnson) is illustrated with a picture of British police cyclists doing the sort of thing I certainly didn't learn how to do when I was 5.

And it's always worth remembering that the "Tax Payers Alliance" is rather closely linked to the Conservative party and has at least one of its leaders who lives abroad and is not a British tax payer - in other words, they're not at all politically neutral and are no less hypocritical than you average politician.

Anonymous said...

Guess who the Taxpayers Alliance is? Its director, Alexander Heath, doesn't actually pay tax in Britain. It's a right-wing group "with close links to the Conservative Party" Needless to say, it doesn't disclose its own funding, but they did out their own status as a right-wing pressure-group earlier this year with a presentation by its executive, Matthew Elliott, at a Canadian conservative do, presumably hoping no-one in Britain would notice...till one of his own mates went and blogged it.)

Anyway - to the point, Mikael: when the Taxpayers' Alliance wears its other hat ("collaborates in research" it calls itself....The Drivers' Alliance.



Kim said...

It is a highly amusing story, but not no that should be taken too seriously, the British tabloid press don't let facts get in the way of a good story.

Note for LVG, the British Police don't carry guns!

Like Marchie, I have a copy of Cyclecraft and I would recommend that all police officers should read it before cycling or dealing with cyclist...

Anonymous said...

Here in North America its a 40 hour course that most police services require before being assigned to a bike unit. They cover bike handling in the urban environment using your bike as a defensive tool, how to approach offenders with stealth, dismount transitioning to a shooting stance (unlike a car you might approach the actual scene quite fast)... it's a very different style of patrol that when done right is very effective and you would not catch me riding in a regular uniform shirt like the two guys in the picture... that would be "murder" to keep clean and professional. They do make special issue uniforms that are way more practical... 93 pages seems about right....

Anonymous said...

The picture is of Burly Dutch Policemen on a bike. I guess they don't need a manual how to ride a bike.