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|The Community Support Officer Cycle Project
South Wye Community Partnership Project
Two years ago I received authorisation from the Herefordshire Divisional Command Team of West Mercia Constabulary to proceed with my plan to become the UK’s first dedicated and professionally equipped Community Support Officer Cycle Patrol. I have since discovered many CSO Cyclists with wholly inadequate cycle’s and uniform. This document is intended to assist those wishing to become professional emergency service cyclists with the correct training, equipment and uniform. It is also intended to provide material evidence to the CSO Cycle Project contributors that their money was well spent.
I have found the aptly named CSO PPC to be of the highest quality. To date there have been no mechanical failures of any kind and the fact of the cycle being supplied and serviced locally ensures that if any repair should be required it can be done at very short notice and at low cost. I have ridden this cycle ‘off road’ to test its durability and I was extremely impressed with the adaptability and suitability for an urban environment bordering on rural surroundings.
I have encountered no negative physical issues during the adaptation period with this cycle. Every component is adjustable to suit the rider and the ‘lock out’ front forks ensure minimum wear and tear on the rider.
The CSO PPC was supplied to West Mercia for the total sum of £1000. The cycle alone (Specialized Rockhopper Pro Disc International) retails at £950 and the sponsorship of ‘Climb on Bikes’ ensured that the package included spares and servicing for at least the next twelve months. The paint and livery cost £120 and it is estimated that should this cycle be assembled from scratch it would cost an individual close to £1500.
The CSO PPC was the first phase of the planned exploration by ‘Climb on Bikes’ into the Police / CSO Cycle market. It is hoped that phase two of this project will be introduced later this year with the addition of the Police PPC and an updated CSO PPC which will be the culmination of the original CSO Cycle and developments with regards to budgeting and technological requirements. At this stage the second phase models would be made available to West Mercia for £750. My original cycle will be updated shortly with a seat post fixed pannier for increased usage with respect to personal equipment and stationary etc.
At the outset of the project it was discussed that I attempt to raise £2000 for a cycle identical to the two cycles of the original Police Cycle Pilot. Deeming this amount to be excessive I have done my best to ensure that value for money is the absolute priority for this project. I hope I have succeeded. I have recently compared the cycle with other UK emergency service cycles at the National Police Cycle Seminar in York. I am pleased to say that with just one exception the CSO PPC in respect to quality, engineering and equipment, has matched and surpassed every other cycle. I am also extremely satisfied with the CSO Cycle development at local level with Mr Clive Beacon.
I have found all of the uniform to be of the highest quality with the exception of the Cargo Trousers. Of the two pairs I original purchased one faded badly and are in the process of being returned to the supplier. I am pleased to say however that following some lengthy delays at the outset KIT did make all the garments I requested and liveried them accordingly. The delay was due to the fact of my being the only CSO Cyclist and obviously had to be printed as the first ever ordered with the specifications of CSO and Police Staff.
All of the uniform has proven to be extremely both comfortable and durable. The Polaris cycle shorts (not featured) were an absolute must and greatly increased my physical comfort during my ’acclimatisation period’.
The budget for the clothing was in excess of £800 and I found that cycle uniform on the whole is very expensive. However after being much impressed by the ‘Cool Max’ clothing I find that a cheaper alternative would have been a mistake. Hours of cycling make comfort and hygiene a premium consideration. The KIT range did offer this in abundance and uniformity with our existing cyclist was made a priority.
I have held discussions with the suppliers of the uniform and found that the range, price and availability should eventual lessen the financial burden of the necessary uniform. I have been very pleased with developments in uniform correcting some mistakes, which I myself discovered, and also the moving toward a national Police/CSO Cyclist uniform.
I strongly believe that the purchasing of the white uniform (with the exception of the cool max shirts – not illustrated) was a considerable error. I soon discovered that, as shown in the picture below, hi-vis yellow was far more suited to the role. I had three hivis funnel neck tops made and I was suitably impressed with the increased ‘presence’ on the roads. In hindsight all of the white outer garments could and should have been ‘hi-vis’. I was, and remain to be, very impressed with KIT and have found their main competitors currently lacking in range and quality. I am however sure that as the emergency service cycle usage increases the competition and price of cycle uniform will become far more acceptable with regard to much-limited budgets.
This CSO Cycle Project has to date cost approximately £1950. Of this sum £1200 was raised through South Wye community funds and £800 was contributed through the West Mercia Policing Board Fund as a one off grant. The Cycle accounted originally for £1000 and included a selection of spare parts. This figure was later increased to £1100 to include additional servicing and accessories. The ‘second phase’ Cycle can be purchased for £750. This has been achieved by changing the Cycle to a lesserspecification Specialized Rockhopper.
The remaining £850 accounts for uniform costs including the additional hivis funnel neck shirts. I strongly believe that this sum can be amended to £500 for future projects.
The CSO Cycle Project has been a learning experience to say the least. It is my hope that the work that I have done on this project may go some way to assisting fellow Community Support and Police Officers to become professional emergency service cyclists.
Through consultation with ‘Climb on Bikes’ and ‘KIT’ it is my hope that further Cycle Projects could be financed for an original outlay of around £1200 per cyclist. The LBM Pilot Cycle Project in comparison totaled over £3800 per cyclist. It is essential that each potential cyclist have his or her own personal issue cycle and necessary cycle uniform.
"I am to date the only fully equipped and dedicated CSO Cyclist in the UK. My hope is to assist fellow Community Support Officers nationwide in becoming full time Cycle Patrols within their respective divisions and Constabularies, community funded or otherwise".
|Update: July 2005
It has been over 18 months since I first took to cycling my beat in Hereford. To date I have clocked up in excess of 2,600 miles during that time and I have had a three month cycling sabbatical during that time due to an unrelated back injury.
My uniform remains much the same with the exception of the addition of body armour, hi-vis baseball cap and new style cycle trousers. I am hoping to obtain updated cycle shirts and a hi-vis cover for my body armour later this year.
The cycle has been updated and its design finalized. The small pannier has been replaced by a larger seat post mounted pannier with a significantly higher storage capacity for uniform, first aid materials and paperwork etc. I have also added the front mud guard set which has made a significant difference.
My cycle project is at the present time independently funded and I am responsible for raising any finance required for uniform, equipment and servicing. I have received neither financial assistance from Herefordshire Division nor uniform assistance from our clothing department. I very much hope that this will change in the very near future.
I am very happy to see that CSO’s up and down the country are now being taken seriously as emergency services cyclists and the equipment supplied is getting better all the time. There are still however CSO Cyclists out there using wholly inadequate and unprofessional equipment with an ignorance to health and safety. Not only am I concerned for the safety of fellow officers but also the professional image and example set to young people. Leading by example is a fantastic way of putting across to individuals the reason behind traffic enforcement and cycle safety.
My two Police Cyclist colleagues and I hope to be joined by fellow local policing officers some time in the near future and hope that this will assist us in gaining ‘cycle section’ status.
The CSO Cycle Project has to date been a great success. My efficiency, durability and visibility have all improved immensely and my credibility with the youths on my beat has been given a huge boost due to the universal admiration for quality cycling equipment. I am also a strong advocate of cycling as opposed to driving and I hope that my education of young people on the subject has been digested.
Please feel free to contact me by any means. I would be very happy to assist or discuss any points or issues relating to CSO’s, cycling or otherwise.
Community Support Officer Shane Jenkins 6114
Hereford Police Station
Hereford HR1 2HT
Tel: 08457 444 888 ext 4730
Mob: 07970 602 438
This Document is a factual representation of equipment and clothing used in the Community Support Officer Cycle Project. All remarks and opinions contained within are my own remarks and opinions, based upon personal knowledge and experience, and are not necessarily representative of WestMercia Constabulary or any other Officers. SJ 6114
(Editor's Note: For space reasons the above report by CSO Shane Jenkins could be reproduced here in part only. For the full report please contact Shane directly. J Koe)