Police probe as Portsmouth PCSOs pictured riding their bikes through 'no cycle' zone
HAMPSHIRE police have defended the actions of three officers after they were pictured breaking the rules to ride their bikes through a pedestrian precinct.
The trio of PCSOs were spotted cycling through Commercial Road in Portsmouth at about 8.30am on Monday.
The city centre shopping precinct has a ban on the use of bicycles between 6am and 7pm.
Those caught flouting the law can potentially be prosecuted and fined.
One person, who witnessed the rule-breaking biking bobbies, said: ‘These officers were clearly not on any urgent police business; they were cycling slowly and chatting… they cycled straight past the “no cycling” signs.’
Hampshire Constabulary has since fired back and claimed there may have been ‘operational reasons’ why the officers were cycling in the area at the time.
But a spokeswoman added: ‘However, we will carry out work to understand the circumstances around this occurrence and establish if any learning needs to be addressed.’
In November, 14 people in Grimsby were taken to court for flouting cycling rules, with a total of £9,000 fines and costs imposed.
However, in Portsmouth, discretion is often used, with offending riders given a warning.
A spokeswoman for Hampshire police added: ‘While it is an offence to cycle on any footpath or causeway by the side of any road made or set apart for the use of foot passengers, our officers follow national guidance from the Association of Chief Police Officers which states that there must be ‘discretion in taking a reasonable and proportionate approach with safety being a guiding principle.’
‘With that in mind, our officers will always engage, explain and encourage from an educational and safety point of view in the first instance, before taking enforcement measures for those cycling in non-cycle areas.’
Former city council leader Donna Jones was not worried by the actions of officers.
The Tory leader, who is vying to become Hampshire’s next police and crime commissioner, said: ‘The police are diligent in upholding the law and ensuring they set a good example to the public.
‘The police have had a tough year enforcing Covid rules and dealing with an increase in violent and hatred towards officers.
‘I would urge the public to wait to find out if these officers were using their discretion when cycling from one incident to another through Commercial Road.’