An annual operation which looks to tackle the antisocial and criminal use of motorbikes in Aberdeen, has been launched today (Wednesday 8 May 2019).
Operation Armour, which was formerly known as Operation Trinity, looks to target individuals who cause a nuisance in their communities by riding motorcycles illegally or in a dangerous way.
This is the eleventh year that the operation has taken place and will be looking to address 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 Mark Stephen, of the Mastrick Community Policing Team, said, "Operation Armour is a tried and tested operation which has seen success over the years.
“Last year saw 70 vehicles seized which included 66 motorbikes and 60 people charged with various offences as part of the operation. Our team of officers will again be led by Sergeant Craig Murray and they will be looking to deter incidents through regular patrols but who will thoroughly investigate and detect offenders who commit these offences.
“There is typically an increase in the anti-social use of motorbikes as the nights start getting lighter. Operation Armour will not only look to tackle the issue of antisocial behaviour but also the wider problem of motorcycle thefts from the city.
“Over the last four years we’ve seen a steady decrease in calls to us reporting incidents 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 such as playing fields to not wearing the right protective clothing, which carries a risk for not only the public, but also the rider themselves.”
Inspector Stephen 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 officers will also have their body worn and vehicle mounted CCTV cameras in order to secure video footage as evidence.
"We are also pleased once again to be working again with our partners on the Aberdeen Motorbike Project for Educational Development (AMPED). This project aims to educate young people on how to enjoy riding motorbikes legally and responsibly and therefore divert them away from offending behaviour, and it has worked well in previous years.
"Members of our local Police Scotland Youth Volunteers will be providing assistance by delivering advice leaflets on motorcycle misuse and annoyance to households in communities where the bikes are being driven.
“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.”
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Watch Manager David Gauld said: “Motorcycle annoyance often results in the attendance of fire appliances as on many occasions stolen vehicles will be abandoned and set on fire.
“Such incidents take specialist crews and resources away from communities with potentially tragic consequences for anyone in need of rescue in Aberdeen City. In a life threatening fire every minute counts so when an emergency strikes it is vital firefighters can get to where they are needed.
“We shall continue to work closely with our partners in Police Scotland to prevent Anti-Social behaviour from occurring within the city.“
Forestry and Land Scotland’s Visitor Services Manager, Fiona Robertson, said, “Unauthorised vehicular access to Scotland’s national forests and land is not only illegal but is also potentially dangerous – even life threatening.
“By behaving recklessly, drivers and riders risk the safety of our staff and of the many visitors that come to our forests - not to mention their own safety – and at the very least will create a noisy disturbance that will ruin other forest users experiences.
“It is anti-social behaviour of the worst sort and we are pleased to be working with Police Scotland to clamp down on the few irresponsible people who are flouting the rules and showing no regard for other people.
“However, we are always open to having discussions with organised groups and would welcome an opportunity to work with off-road riders and explore the possibilities of agreed, legal access.”