An annual operation which has seen almost 150 motorbikes seized in the last two years alone, and scores of people charged, has been launched today in Aberdeen.
Operation Trinity is aimed at targeting individuals who cause a nuisance in their communities by riding motorcycles illegally or in a dangerous way.
This year is the ninth year that the operation has taken place and is a direct result of concerns raised by the local communities across the city about the anti-social use of motorbikes and the negative behaviour associated with it.
As in previous years, a dedicated team of officers will be working alongside colleagues from the Roads Policing Unit, City Wardens, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Aberdeen Community Safety Hub, as well as the public to tackle the issue.
Inspector Jon Millar, of the Mastrick Community Policing Team, said: "Trinity is a tried and tested operation which has seen success over the years. Over the last two summers, 144 motorbikes were seized with 63 people charged in 2015 and 76 people charged in 2016. We generally see an increase in the anti-social use of motorbikes once the nights start getting lighter which is why we launch this operation every May.
"Those who carry out these offences choose to ride motorbikes at speed around particular areas however the risk they pose to themselves and others shouldn't be underestimated.
"The vast majority of motorcyclists and motorists obey the law but there is still a small minority who ignore traffic rules and ride dangerously and irresponsibly, causing a menace and more importantly a danger to the public.
"This is not acceptable and we will continue to target those intent on behaving in this way.
"Anti-social motorcycle use can be anything from speeding, riding on footpaths and open land to not wearing the right protective clothing, which carries a risk for not only the public, but also the rider themselves.
"There are a minority of people that we come into contact with who are using their own motorbikes legitimately, however they don't realise they are committing an offence by driving their motorbike off road, and so it is important that people take time to make sure they are safe.
"The legal definition of a road is very broad ranging and many people we encounter in 'off road' situations are unaware of this fact. The need to be 'off road' legal is now as important as being 'on road' legal and users of these vehicles need to be sure of their facts.
"Matters such as not having the landowners permission, a driving licence, motor insurance and a test certificate are offences which officers have encountered in 'off road' situations and while acknowledging these machines are fun to use, the simple message is to make sure you're legal before you venture out."
Inspector Millar added that it is a priority for Police Scotland to trace those responsible for causing a danger in communities and that partnership work with colleagues such as Aberdeen City Council and communities will continue.
He said: "We will have uniformed and plain clothed staff patrolling, supported by specialist staff and additional partner agencies, such as the City Wardens.
"We will make use of public space CCTV and look to use portable wifi cameras from Aberdeen City Council.
"Officers will also make full use of their body worn and vehicle mounted CCTV cameras in order to secure video footage as evidence.
"Members of our local Police Scotland Youth Volunteers will also be providing assistance by delivering advice leaflets on motorcycle misuse and annoyance to households in communities where the bikes are being driven.
"The leaflet reinforces our message to the public to continue to report incidents to us.
"Information from the public is really important in helping us tackle this issue. When you see motorbikes being misused and driven dangerously please report it to us. The more details you can supply the better. This includes descriptions of the bikes, riders and location details.
"Also, if you know who the offenders are, tell us. If you know where the bikes are being stored, tell us.
"We are committed to following up every line of enquiry in order to detect those responsible for driving motorbikes dangerously.
"We are also pleased to be working with our partners on the Aberdeen Motorbike Project for Educational Development. We hope that this project will help educate young people on how to enjoy riding motorbikes legally and responsibly and therefore divert them away from offending behaviour."
Joanne Larsen, Community Safety Hub Service Manager said: “Motorcycle misuse is a huge concern within all of our communities and we know that a large number of those involved are young people who are inexperienced and driving illegally without proper safety gear. The consequences of driving dangerously can have devastating effects and should never be underestimated.
“Aberdeen City Council has recently launched a new diversionary activity AMPED (Aberdeen Motorcycle Project for Educational Development). Working in partnership with Police Scotland and SFRS our aim is to educate young people on the dangers of driving illegally as well as giving them a facility to ride bikes safely, with proper instruction and ultimately divert them away from offending.
“I am delighted that Operation Trinity is about to embark on its ninth successive year and have no doubt, with the growing help and support of the public and our partners that it will have even greater success than in previous years.”
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Watch Manager Steven Thomson said: “Motorcycle annoyance often results in the attendance of fire appliances as on many occasions stolen vehicles will be abandoned and set on fire.
“This type of reckless activity presents not only a danger to the motorcyclists but also to other road users and the wider community.
“We are never complacent and we continue to work closely with our partners at Police Scotland to stamp out such anti-social behaviour from occurring within the city.
“However we always endeavour to seek opportunities to work with young people wherever possible to educate them about the dangers and stay safe.”
Anyone wishing to report information that could help with Operation Trinity should call 101 or if they wish to remain anonymous, they can call the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Photo above from today's launch.
L-R: PC David Robb (Road Policing), PC Nicky Murray (Road Policing), PC Rory McAlister (adult volunteer with the Police Scotland Youth Volunteers), Community Warden Dave Blair, Steven Thomson (Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Watch Manager), Councillor Jackie Dunbar and Inspector Jon Millar.