Po­lice us­ing spike strips and DNA spray to catch bor­ough’s ‘ law­less’ bik­ers

Solihull News - - FRONT PAGE - NICK McCARTHY nick. mccarthy@ trinitymirror. com

WEST Mid­lands Po­lice are us­ing stinger de­vices and DNA spray to tackle gangs of ram­pag­ing bik­ers, de­scribed by the re­gion’s po­lice chief as “ap­pallingly law­less”.

Soli­hull and Birm­ing­ham have been plagued by gangs of mostly masked young men on mo­tor­bikes and push­bikes who have ter­rorised mo­torists and pedes­tri­ans, per­form­ing il­le­gal ma­noeu­vres and stunts, be­fore goad­ing po­lice of­fi­cers and post­ing videos on so­cial me­dia.

Chief Con­sta­ble David Thomp­son ad­mit­ted he shared the public’s con­cerns about the be­hav­iour of bik­ers and said the Crown Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice ( CPS) was cur­rently de­cid­ing over charg­ing up to 50 sus­pects.

Speak­ing at Tues­day’s strate­gic po­lice and crime board he de­scribed it as a “strange mod­ern phe­nom­e­non” and urged the public to help his of­fi­cers iden­tify those in­volved.

He added: “I think these par­tic­u­lar is­sues, in the eyes of com­mu­ni­ties, are some of the most ap­pallingly law­less things that we see.

“That is both in terms of the dan­ger they pose to the public, the anti- so­cial be­hav­iour it­self and the un­wel­come phe­nom­e­non of the shar­ing of that be­hav­iour on so­cial me­dia.

“This is some­thing the force takes very se­ri­ously and I know the public has been left frus­trated about the re­sponse. It can be very dif­fi­cult to deal with be­cause it can be very dan­ger­ous to the public and the in­di­vid­u­als them­selves.

“Phys­i­cally, try­ing to catch hold of some­body at the time is very dif­fi­cult.

“So our ap­proach has had to be far more so­phis­ti­cated than just try­ing to turn up and catch them in the act.

“There are a num­ber of things we do and we will con­tinue to do.”

As well as us­ing stinger de­vices to stop the bikes, Chief Con­sta­ble Thomp­son said his of­fi­cers were gath­er­ing in­tel­li­gence that al­lowed them to raid prop­er­ties and seize ma­chines. He said: “There has been a con­sid­er­able level of suc­cess, par­tic­u­larly against or­gan­ised ‘ ride- outs’, and we have sec­onded staff to specif­i­cally fo­cus on that.

“We have seized a lot of bikes and we also have 50 sus­pects who have been in­ter­viewed and are await­ing charg­ing de­ci­sions from the CPS.

“We have been con­sid­er­ing charges like public nui­sance in this area. We

I think these par­tic­u­lar is­sues, in the eyes of com­mu­ni­ties, are some of the most ap­pallingly law­less things that we see. CHIEF CON­STA­BLE DAVID THOMP­SON

have started to use stinger de­vices, which are used against ve­hi­cles dur­ing pursuits, but we ob­vi­ously have to think very care­fully about how we use them against bikes. A high pro­por­tion of our suc­cess is ac­tu­ally pho­tograph­ing and tak­ing images of cloth­ing.

“The key thing I would say to the public is, please do let us know who is en­gaged in this type of be­hav­iour. The public should also be as­sured that we reg­u­larly carry out war­rants.

“We have also done par­tic­u­larly good work to in­tro­duce in­junc­tions in Birm­ing­ham and Soli­hull with lo­cal author­ity part­ners.

“We have also now started us­ing spray DNA so that we can mark cloth­ing and bikes and then iden­tify sus­pects on the sub­se­quent raids.

“I know peo­ple are very frus­trated. I no­tice a lot of com­plaints that ask what we are do­ing about it. Un­for­tu­nately, this is a very strange mod­ern phe­nom­e­non that has been go­ing on. There is a de­ter­mined effort by the force, but the best way peo­ple can help is to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion about those en­gaged in this.”

Video footage of bik­ers on the Col­lec­tor Road, near Chelm­s­ley Wood

Il­le­gal bik­ers caus­ing havoc

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