Belfast Telegraph

Gardai spend over 72,000 euro on bicycle repairs

Gardai trained in mountain bike patrols are normally assigned to Core Unit and Community Policing frontline duties.

An Garda Siochana have spent almost 72,000 euro repairing damage to bicycles used by officers in the last five years (Niall Carson/PA)
An Garda Siochana have spent almost 72,000 euro repairing damage to bicycles used by officers in the last five years (Niall Carson/PA)

By Aoife Moore, PA

An Garda Siochana have spent almost 72,000 euro repairing damage to bicycles used by officers in the last five years.

Freedom of Information requests obtained by PA News Agency also found that there are currently only 177 mountain bikes in An Garda Siochana.

The force has spent 626,108 euro on bicycle clothing for the 804 bike trained officers, equating to 778 euro per officer.

A further 11,237 euro has been spent on added decals to the bikes, such as lights.

An Garda Siochana says that each qualified garda member is issued with an “appropriate operational uniform”, this includes a cycle helmet, protective cycling glasses, a mountain bike rain suit, polo shirts, first layer T-shirts, cycling shorts, cycling shoes, fingerless gloves and a further set of winter gloves.

“804 members of An Garda Siochana have successfully completed the Garda Mountain Bike Course since 2016,” a Garda spokesman said.

“The total on repairs equates to an average cost of 80 euro per mountain bike over the last five years, and includes the cost of annual servicing to maintain each bicycle in a serviceable condition.”

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The bikes aim to provide high-visibility patrols (Niall Carson/PA)

Gardai trained in mountain bike patrols are normally assigned to Core Unit and Community Policing frontline duties.

The force says they “provide high visibility patrols and mobile support to large events that strengthen our overall strategy of keeping people safe”.

Officers on bikes are often seen at protests such as this year’s Raise the Roof housing action and climate protests, and were used for crowd control and force visibility during the Pope’s visit to Dublin.

Each officer must complete a week-long bike course, which costs 153 euro, and subsequently pass a fitness test, which includes balance exercises, at a cost of 44.50 euro, in order to be signed off onto a bicycle, and are selected by their local Divisional/District Officers for training.

The cost of each bike is 899 euro excluding VAT.

The amount spent on cycling gear for Garda members is certain to increase, as a public tender for 1,200 pieces of equipment, and more specialised mountain bike uniforms has recently closed.

In the recent tender, An Garda Siochana was seeking to spend around 135,000 euro plus VAT on helmets, which have 400 stickers that say Garda, two different kinds of gloves, shorts, glasses and “Terry towel sweat wipes”.

One request in the tender was for 200 sets of Lycra cycling shorts with “ergofit padding from Italy”, ensuring “a correct muscular compression”, “flat-lock stitched seams for maximum comfort” and “soft elastic with silicon gripper design”.

PA

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