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The Blading Bobbies of Brighton
Roller Cop Damian Stevens Patrolling the Esplanade
Photo reprinted with permission from the
London was one of the first cities in the
world to have an inline skating police unit, and now
there are law enforcement officers on skates in another part of
the United Kingdom - Brighton and Hove.
Chief Inspector Stuart Harrison, District Commander of
the Brighton and Hove Police Department has confirmed
that two of his officers are patroling the
five mile seafront Esplanade on inline skates.
From the Chief Inspector:
"...the initial reaction was that this was
"wierd", but it is now recognised as an excellent crime fighting
The officers wear skates with removeable wheels, and special
roller patrol uniforms are being designed now. The officers
skate up and down the city's seafront, handling
everything from tackling drunks and troublemakers to
keeping the peace for tourists and locals.
The team attracts a lot of attention from tourists and locals
alike, so they are a valuable public relations tool, as
well as a law enforcement unit.
People frequently stop and chat with the bobbies and children often
run up to examine their boots.
It would normally take an officer ten minutes to walk
between the Palace and West Piers but inline skates have cut the time down to a
couple of minutes.
One young boy asked PC Damian Stevens: "Are you going
to have a blue flashing light on your head?". Australian
tourist Keith Davey said "I think I've seen it all now."
PC Stevens and colleague
PC James Marter can reach a top speed of
about 10mph and can often get into areas to crowded for new city police cycle
From PC Stevens: "We've skated up to drug dealers and
surprised them and stopped drunks and illegal traders before they cause
problems. Getting around quicker has definitely helped and it
has added an extra weapon to the police armoury:.
Superintendent Peter Coll, second-in-command of city
police, said: "Skates make officers far more visible and mobile and they
look cool and trendy. They fit in perfectly with the cosmopolitan nature of the
seafront." He said the patrols would last throughout the summer but
there were no plans to introduce them elsewhere.
PC Stevens, age 29, was an ideal candidate for the
skating police unit because of his experience playing ice hockey.
From PC Stevens: "I haven't fallen over yet, but I can
imagine the seafront CCTV camera operators and the bystanders having a laugh,
if and when I do!"
You can learn more about Brighton and Hove's inline
skating police unit by using this form to send a message
to the Sussex Police:
Contact the Sussex Police
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