Twenty police officers, including one woman, will perform bike patrolling of public spaces from Orhei, Anenii Noi, Edinet and Ungheni districts. Using the bicycles, the law-enforcement officers will get more rapidly to places where police cars have no access. They will ensure people’s security in parks, squares, recreation places and will intervene in all emergencies, such as looking for lost children.
The police officers who have previously passed an international training program learning how to patrol correctly and efficiently on the bikes they are equipped with. This initiative is part of a project implemented by UNDP with the U.S. Government support.
Bike maneuvering, defense tactics and crowd control are some of the skills acquired by police officers during the training courses provided by two foreign experts. Besides theory classes, police officers were engaged in many practical exercises to learn how to safely ride a bike and brake suddenly, bypass obstacles and pass through a crowd. They have also learned that bikes can help them in self-defense. At the same time, the training included practical lessons on how to provide first aid, all bicycles being equipped with medical kits.
The trainees will join the number of police officers currently patrolling on bikes in Cahul, Leova, Cantemir districts, and Chisinau and Balti municipalities. This service has 70 employees, including five women.
Police bike patrols are equipped with necessary gear. The bikes have police distinctive signs, lights and sirens. According to Police internal procedures, the patrol is composed of at least two persons, for a more efficient and safe reaction to situations that might occur in public spaces.
The advantages of bike patrolling are obvious: getting closer to the community, environmental benefits, low maintenance costs, rapid intervention in emergency cases and easy access to places where patrol cars cannot get.
”These bicycle patrol units represents a tangible change in the way the police will interact with the Moldovan people. Bicycle patrols are cost effective; they enhance the capacity of police to enforce laws; they are environmentally friendly; and they dramatically increase the number of interactions between the police and the general public. I am confident that the new bike patrol officers will distinguish themselves and help to positively influence the public perception of the police force”, mentioned Timothy Buckley, Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Section director, US Embassy.
“The assistance provided by the U.S. Government and UNDP in organizing this training course supports the national efforts to advance the implementation of the community policing concept and increase public trust in police,” states Viorel Albu, Project Manager at UNDP Moldova.
Bikes bring police officers closer to the community
Marina Iordachi, Senior Officer in the National Public Security Inspectorate, is the first policewoman involved in bike patrolling. According to her, training of police officers is extremely important for ensuring an efficient service.
“Different unexpected situations might occur during patrolling. Therefore, police officers have to know techniques for bike maneuvering in risky situations, defense tactics, which we all need for our daily activity. The very first advantage for us, the police, is the fact that we practice sport and keep ourselves in a good physical shape. At the same time, bikes allow us get faster to a certain location and be always close to the community.”
During the pandemic, the police patrols also have the duty to enforce the legal provisions on social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection, says Marina Iordachi. People’s reactions are mainly positive, the policewoman says: “People accept our new patrolling modality. From my own experience, I have noticed people are more open and more likely to approach us, ask for help and to collaborate with us”.
One of the police officers who enrolled the bike patrols this year is Dionisie Cebotarenco from Orhei Police Inspectorate. “As the bikes are rather small in size, we can reach all places. If the person whom we are chasing has a very good physical condition, our chances to catch him/her are higher if we use the bike. Its speed exceeds 4–5 times the speed of a running person. Initially, bike patrolling seemed rather simple to me, but after the training I understood that there are a lot of details to be considered for an efficient service. If neglecting the recommendations of the experts, one may ride 5–10 kilometers, get totally exhausted and, thus, fail the mission,” says the policeman.
The bike patrol service was launched as a pilot project in Chisinau in October 2017 by the U.S. Embassy. Subsequently, the service was extended by UNDP with the U.S. Government support to cover several districts in the Republic of Moldova.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Police of the Republic of Moldova have a long-lasting collaboration with the U.S. Government and UNDP, during which a number of activities were carried out to strengthen institutional and professional capacities of police so as to ensure a safe environment for all men and women in the Republic of Moldova and increase people’s trust in police.
The “Support to Law Enforcement Reform in Moldova” Project is implemented by UNDP with the financial support provided by the U.S. Government.