March 12, 2022

Unmarked Police motorcycles to be trailed in Canterbury

Unmarked Police motorcycles to be trailed in Canterbury

It's been around a year since the NZ Police traded in their heavy 1200cc tanks for the light and nimble Yamaha MT-09 TRAP model, and they seem quite popular among Police Motorcyclists.
Now, in Canterbury, they're trailing an unmarked Police Spec MT-09.

The motorcycle is fully operational, with lights, radio and siren, but without the livery. There is also a fit-for-purpose protective uniform for the rider, which includes a high-vis vest.

The trial is focusing on the driver and rider behaviour we know causes the most harm on the road; unrestrained drivers and riders not wearing helmets, distracted drivers, impaired drivers, and people speeding. It is also focusing on red-light runners.

It has a strong engagement component, with the emphasis being on changing rider behaviour before crashes occur.

Director of the National Road Policing Centre, Superintendent Steve Greally says that this initiative will assist in changing unsafe behaviours, especially in relation to restraints and cell phone use.

“The fact that these motorcycles will not be immediately obvious as Police vehicles, is expected to have a positive impact in death and serious injuries as it has overseas jurisdictions.”

Senior Constable Middleton says the reaction from the public has been positive so far.

“I’ve completed three shifts with the bike, and I’ve stopped and chatted with at least 100 motorists. The reaction so far has been absolutely positive.

“No one has expressed any doubt as to my role, the red and blue flashing lights are particularly visible at night and are accepted without question.”

Sergeant Lachy Garrick has had a similar experience.

“Probably 50 percent of the drivers of vehicles I’ve spoken to haven’t commented at all on our plain uniform or the bike. The other half have expressed surprise or interest in the concept. I haven’t had any negative feedback, which is great.”

“Although Police visibility is a great deterrence for poor road behaviour, an unmarked motorcycle offers other benefits such as seeing people undertake risky behaviours and then being able to stop them and engage with them to talk about road safety.”

“It enhances our ‘anytime, anywhere’ philosophy and means we can be unpredictable in our patrolling, engagement, and enforcement activity for all drivers.”

The trial is running from March through to the end of May, initially in Canterbury, before moving to Tāmaki Makaurau and Wellington.