By Rachael Houlihan, the Standard, 8 Feb 2017
Warrnambool AUS. RAIN, hail or shine, Warrnambool police will be out on the beat with members on bikes as part of the newly re-instated bicycle unit.
Bike unit officers picked up their rides after a service from Cafe Cycles on Tuesday, and patrols will begin over the next few weeks.
Senior Sergeant Deon Townsend-Booth said the unit had been in hiatus for three to four years.
"We are now in a good place at Warrnambool with good numbers, so we said, 'let's reinvigorate it'," he said.
“There will be several police out on patrol. Hopefully we will have about 10 or 12 officers trained.”
Police will be on patrol around the region at festivals, events and in the city.
“We will use them at the Port Fairy Folk Festival, around the central business district, along the foreshore,” Senior Sergeant Townsend-Booth said.
“It’s a good engagement tool with businesses. They will see a police presence. It’s something different for everyone.”
Senior Sergeant Townsend-Booth said some of the benefits of bike patrols included being able to access areas where cars could not.
“Bikes can go where historically a van can’t,” he said.
“We can access the beach foreshore area and the bike paths. We will be able to get some of those offences such as people drinking that we can’t get unless we get out on foot.”
He said challenges may include chasing vehicles.
“I’ll be watching that space to see what the challenges are,” he said.
“We’ll work through it. We are looking forward to getting them out there and for people to see them.
“There is a lot of traffic enforcement they can do.”
He said the bike unit may also head to schools for demonstrations.
“This is frontline stuff,” he said. “It’s all about community engagement.”
Further community engagement includes a new initiative ‘Coffee with a Cop’ which will launch next month.
Police members will sit at a local cafe where the public can drop in for a chat about any policing matters.