Cash boost sees off-road police team triple in size

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A police bike team which has caught hundreds of rogue riders is to triple in size and operate seven days a week for the first time following major investment.

Operation Matrix off-road team will grow from two officers to six to patrol the Pontefract, Castleford and Wakefield estates to help catch illegal riders.

Inspector Martin Moizer of the Wakefield North East neighbourhood policing team said: “These changes will make a real difference to our off-road capability significantly enhancing what is already a major asset for our district.

“We work in partnership with Wakefield District Housing to reduce anti-social behaviour on estates and the off-road team have played a significant role in deterring off road related anti-social behaviour. The fact that we will be able to offer that capability day and afternoon, seven days a week, can only be a good thing.”

West Yorkshire Police is one the first forces in the country to add PCSOs to its off-road team, with three making up the new six-strong squad.

Meanwhile, two new Honda CR250f off-road motorbikes have also been added to the fleet, thanks to funding from Wakefield District Housing (WDH).

Gary Lumb, community safety manager for WDH, said: “WDH fully understands the problems caused by the illegal use of motorbikes and the disruption this behaviour can cause within neighbourhoods.

“We are very pleased to support the police in targeted action against those responsible and are confident that these additional resources will go a long way towards improving the quality of life for residents.”

The team has already been responsible for regular monthly prosecutions against nuisance bikers, as well as responding to medical rescues where emergency vehicle access is often restricted.