It’s been one year since West Shore RCMP launched a full-time, year-round bike patrol unit and it’s proven to be a success.
To date, the unit’s proactive patrols have resulted in 65 arrest warrants and 77 criminal charges that have been laid.
The four-member unit started in July 2018 as just a two-person unit. The third and fourth members joined in January and March, respectively.
“Our shifts will typically consist of consulting with our crime analyst to see if there are specific areas we need to pay particular attention to and what the trends are,” said Const. Alex Berube, a member of the bike unit. “We patrol the whole West Shore, patrol trails, touch base with businesses and proactively target chronic offenders.”
Berube said officers in the bike unit also stop and talk to people to engage the community and make themselves known to the public and the criminals.
“We want to make [criminals] feel unwelcome here,” Berube said.
The bike unit members interact with people from many different paths of life.
“That’s just the nature of our work,” Berube said. “From the wealthiest to the poorest, we will treat everyone equally with respect and dignity.”
According to the West Shore RCMP’s 2018 annual report, the bike patrol unit also limits the carbon footprint of police vehicles. By being outside and on a bicycle, officers can act quickly and quietly in areas vehicles may not be able to get to.
Being on bikes helps make unit members more approachable as well, Berube said, noting there is a large biking community on the West Shore. However, the unit also considers themselves to be aggressive as they target chronic offenders — especially those involved in property crimes.
“We don’t leave them alone,” Berube said. “We will go wherever they are on the street, in alleys, in parks. Hence the versatility of a bike. We want to make sure that they know we are always on them and ultimately provide the community with a sense of security.”
The bike patrol unit is out in the community regardless of weather and time of day. The arrest warrants and criminal charges that have been laid by the unit to date are thanks to proactive work, Berube said. The arrests range from those who are in breach of condition to fugitives that are avoiding being apprehended by the police.
“The versatility of our work and the relentless work of our team allow us to be creative and successful in targeting offenders,” Berube said.