Police made to take cycle lessons
A decision to ban police officers from riding mountain bikes unless they have received 10 hours of training has been described as "a health and safety doctrine gone too far".
Officers in Northampton have been given the push bikes to patrol the Parklands area of the town, but it emerged they are sitting idle until constables have been given the necessary training.
Councillor Malcolm Mildren, an independent member of Northampton Borough Council, said the police's stance became apparent at a meeting last week for residents in Parklands, which he represents.
He said the bikes would have helped officers tackle youths in parks or at their meeting places on open ground.
He said: "I have ridden a bike for years but I think I could ride a mountain bike safely, if not quickly, after about half an hour.
"It is a bit embarrassing for local politicians, who aren't flavour of the month, when the police have to confess they can't use the bikes as they haven't had the training.
"I imagine that in the good old days of Dixon of Dock Green when officers went to Hendon (police training college), the first thing they would have learnt would have been how to ride a bike.
"If anything this is a health and safety doctrine that has gone too far. Somebody has made a decision about this. If the officers themselves went out on the bikes they would probably get a nasty punishment from their superiors."
Officers are expected to start riding the bikes in the summer once they have received their training.
A spokesman for Northamptonshire Police said: "Officers need a 10-hour training course before going out on these bikes."