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The Blading Bobbies of Brighton

Brighton Roller Cop
Roller Cop Damian Stevens Patrolling the Esplanade
Photo reprinted with permission from the Sussex Police


London was one of the first cities in the world to have an inline skating police unit, and now there are law enforcement officers on skates in another part of the United Kingdom - Brighton and Hove.

Chief Inspector Stuart Harrison, District Commander of the Brighton and Hove Police Department has confirmed that two of his officers are patroling the five mile seafront Esplanade on inline skates. From the Chief Inspector: "...the initial reaction was that this was "wierd", but it is now recognised as an excellent crime fighting tool."

The officers wear skates with removeable wheels, and special roller patrol uniforms are being designed now. The officers skate up and down the city's seafront, handling everything from tackling drunks and troublemakers to keeping the peace for tourists and locals.

The team attracts a lot of attention from tourists and locals alike, so they are a valuable public relations tool, as well as a law enforcement unit. People frequently stop and chat with the bobbies and children often run up to examine their boots. It would normally take an officer ten minutes to walk between the Palace and West Piers but inline skates have cut the time down to a couple of minutes.

One young boy asked PC Damian Stevens: "Are you going to have a blue flashing light on your head?". Australian tourist Keith Davey said "I think I've seen it all now."

PC Stevens and colleague PC James Marter can reach a top speed of about 10mph and can often get into areas to crowded for new city police cycle patrol officers. From PC Stevens: "We've skated up to drug dealers and surprised them and stopped drunks and illegal traders before they cause problems. Getting around quicker has definitely helped and it has added an extra weapon to the police armoury:.

Superintendent Peter Coll, second-in-command of city police, said: "Skates make officers far more visible and mobile and they look cool and trendy. They fit in perfectly with the cosmopolitan nature of the seafront." He said the patrols would last throughout the summer but there were no plans to introduce them elsewhere.

PC Stevens, age 29, was an ideal candidate for the skating police unit because of his experience playing ice hockey. From PC Stevens: "I haven't fallen over yet, but I can imagine the seafront CCTV camera operators and the bystanders having a laugh, if and when I do!"

More Information
You can learn more about Brighton and Hove's inline skating police unit by using this form to send a message to the Sussex Police: Contact the Sussex Police


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