Police vow to 'flood' Washington with officers to target nuisance motorbikers

Police have promised to ‘flood’ Washington with officers in an attempt to crackdown on nuisance riders.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 2:46 pm
Grass was left damaged on King George V Playing Fields in Ryhope.
Grass was left damaged on King George V Playing Fields in Ryhope.

The issue has been described as a ‘perennial problem’ for Wearside, with a range of tactics and tools trialled in recent years to try and get to grips with it.

But in the absence of other proven solutions, bosses are preparing to throw manpower at it, while also appealing for tip offs about the worst offenders.

Northumbria Police officers are clamping down on the issue in Washington but say they are spreading the net wider across Wearside.

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Inspector Nick Gjorven said: “I’ve been in touch with Durham Constabulary and Cleveland Police to look at their policy on how they chase motorbikes [but it] isn’t something that would solve our issues.

“Looking at drones, that will involve a significant cost and if that comes in, I’ll utilise it as soon as I possibly can.

“But I don’t see that happening anytime in the near future, so in the meantime I’m going to flood the area with officers, provide visibility and try to catch them unawares.”

Insp Gjorven was speaking at last week’s (Thursday, March 18) meeting of the city council’s Washington Area Committee, which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.

Nuisance riders have been a problem across Tyne and Wear and the wider North East for years, with thousands of pounds spent on potential solutions, such as ‘DNA’ sprays, cameras and barriers.

Mount Pleasant Park, Albany Park and Princess Anne Park, in Washington, have all been highlighted as hotspots for the problem.

But Insp Gjorven, who is due to take charge of a new operation clamping down on offenders in the coming weeks, told the panel tackling them would involve spreading the net across Wearside.

“If I’m brutally honest, I think they’re coming from Sunderland,” he added.

“I’m not entirely convinced that they’re all Washington riders [but] without revealing my tactics, we have to be down there.

“It’s a really difficult problem to solve because we already have a pursuit policy based on threat, harm and risk.

“If someone has committed an armed robbery or a really serious assault, then the need to pursue will be much higher than if we just assume they haven’t got any driving documents.”

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