Newcastle’s ‘motorcycle crime emergency’ could force residents to ‘take the law into their own hands’

Residents are threatening to take the law into their own hands to deal with a ‘motorcycle crime emergency’ in Newcastle, city leaders have been warned.

Councilors demanded action to crack down on dirt bikes plaguing communities west of the city and said many residents had lost faith in the police. The problem has been described as a “major scourge” and it is claimed that many incidents of antisocial behavior go unreported due to 101 wait times and fear of retaliation.

The calls were made at a Newcastle City Council meeting last week, following a motorbike collision in Lemington which seriously injured two children. Northumbria Police have confirmed that two men arrested in connection with the incident in June have since been released under investigation.

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At last Wednesday’s meeting, the Lemington ward councilor read comments from residents comparing local streets to a ‘racetrack’ and warning that people could ‘take matters into their own hands’ if police do not act.

The Newcastle Independents group leader said: ‘I have seen a list of the many actions taken to address this issue – police making arrests and summonses issued, various community protection warnings and notices, motorcycle seizures, notices of dispersal, identification of gas stations and talking with landowners. However, the reality is that none of this is working, and the problem is getting worse in the Outer West.

Newcastle Independents frontman Jason Smith

He added: “Many residents told me that they had lost faith in the police. When reasonable, law-abiding residents talk about taking the law into their own hands, we should all take notice and be concerned.

Labour’s Simon Barnes, who represents Denton and Westerhope, agreed the issue was a “major scourge” but said it was not helpful for politicians to “undermine trust” in the police. He said Northumbria Police were “working hard to improve the handling of 101 calls” and called on the government to bring the number of officers back to pre-2010 levels.

Lesley Storey, the council’s cabinet member responsible for community safety, accused the government of ‘neglect of duty’ by cutting force budgets, while Lemington Labor adviser Barry Phillipson suggested that all off-road motorcycle buyers are registered so that they can be easily identified. Council approved a motion pledging to review access to bridleways for motorbikes and calling on the Home Secretary ‘to ensure Northumbria Police have the powers and resources they need to take measures against motorcycle crime and reviewing the 101 service so that it becomes fit for purpose”.

An original version of the motion, proposed by the Earl Smith before being amended by Labour, also called for the deployment of a police helicopter and drones to the Outer West to deal with the crisis. The Liberal Democrats have also expressed concerns that any move to block nuisance bikes from accessing bridleways would also block cyclists, wheelchairs and strollers.

Inspector Harninder Bola, of Northumbria Police, said: ‘We are aware of the complaints about the mess of motorbikes in Newcastle’s outer west area and want to reassure the public that we will continue to take a proactive approach to resolving this. problem. We understand the detrimental effect that anti-social behavior can have on the communities we serve.

“This is not a victimless crime – and the actions of a minority who ride these bikes can intimidate and scare the most vulnerable in our community. That’s why plainclothes and uniformed officers will also continue to target motorcycle-related disturbances as well as the prosecution of dispersal notices, seizures and arrests where appropriate.

“We encourage anyone who witnesses off-road or vehicle-related crimes in your area to contact us. You can report through 101 or online through our “Tell Us Something” page on our website.

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