The Mumbai police have a new tool to help them keep an eye on the city– the humble bicycle, imported and custom-made to suit their needs.
The project has been started on a trial basis in some parts of Mumbai from Wednesday, to improve reach inside congested bylanes and on beaches, where because motorcycles and jeeps cannot be used.
As many as 24 bicycles, eight for beaches and 16 for streets, have been imported for the project.
In the first phase, the two-wheelers will patrol Marine drive, Gateway of India, Girgaum Chowpatty, Juhu Chowpatty, Bandra bandstand, Worli sea face, Shivaji Park and Oshiwara gardens, said Deven Bharti, joint commissioner of police (law and order).
“Two bicycles will be paired together for the patrols – one constable will have a walkie talkie and the other a specially made collapsible baton,” Bharti said.
Senior police officers said the main aim of patrolling on the seven-gear bicycles was to increase police visibility, as the presence of officers acts as a deterrent for potential offenders. The units will operate in crowded areas and spots that are frequented for morning and evening walks.
“All the bicycles are custom-made for the Mumbai police and have been modified in a Bandra-based studio,” an officer said. A beach bicycle costs Rs18,000 and a street bicycle around Rs8,000. The bicycles are made of aluminium so they do not rust and feature the logo of the Mumbai police. The tyres of the beach bicycles are broader so they do not skid in the sand and can easily chase suspects on beaches. Even the seating arrangement on the bicycles has been modified to make them more comfortable.
While bicycles will be faster than when the constables are on foot, it will also keep them healthy and fit, officers said. They will also be more environment-friendly than motorcycles or jeeps, they added.