Gardaí segue seamlessly to motorised patrols
PEDESTRIANS STOPPED to stare on Grafton Street, Dublin, as two members of the Garda demonstrated the latest technology to join the force – Segways.
Tom Coffey, the chairman of the Dublin City Business Association, yesterday officially presented two Segways, donated by the association to Assistant Garda Commissioner John Twomey and members of the Garda outside Bewley’s cafe. The two-wheeled electric-powered vehicles are operated by a standing driver and can reach a top speed of about 19km/h. The average walking speed is 5km/h.
“We think this probably has very good potential,” Mr Coffey said. “It has been used in 300 cities worldwide for policing, so it is fairly proven technology at this stage. “What we need to do is give the gardaí time to get used to the idea of policing and using this particular tool.”
The Dublin City Business Association is covering all the costs for the pilot project.
Mr Coffey said it would be up to the Garda to decide in about two years if the project should be expanded nationwide.
“I think the great benefits are accessibility, mobility and a high visibility presence. They are visible from any point on Grafton Street,” Mr Twomey said.
“They will allow us access to areas where we would not normally have access with other such vehicles, and it will give us a greater presence in the area.”
The gardaí who will be taking to the streets with the Segways are all trained pedal cyclists, who went through a two-day training programme for the new machines. “It’s good. It’s good fun. They’re easy to work as well, very easy to manoeuvre,” said Garda Dabhach Dineen. “I think we’ll cover a lot more ground, for one shift especially.” He also said the machines would encourage more people to approach them than if they were on foot.
However, chances are good that until the novelty wears off, gardaí are likely to receive more questions which spring from curiosity than crime. Garda Dineen and fellow Garda David Campbell said the most common question they received was: “What are they?”