Garda Segways turn heads in Dublin
Pedestrians stopped to stare on Grafton Street today as two gardaí demonstrated the force's latest crime fighting technology - Segways.
Tom Coffey, Dublin City Business Association (DCBA) chairman, officially presented two Segways to Assistant Garda Commissioner John Twomey and members of the An Garda outside Bewley's coffee shop.
The two-wheeled vehicles are operated by a standing driver and are able to reach a top speed of about 19km/h. The average walking speed is 5km/h.
"We think this probably has very good potential,” he said. “It's been used in 300 cities worldwide for policing, so it's 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 DCBA is currently covering all the costs for the pilot project. Mr Coffey said it will 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,” said Commissioner Twomey. “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 program for the new machines.
“It's good. It's good fun. They're easy to work as well, very easy to manoeuvre,” said Grda Dabhach Dineen. “I think we'll cover a lot more ground for one shift especially.”
He also said he felt 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 the gardaí are likely going to receive more questions sprung from curiosity than crime. Mr Dineen and fellow Grda David Campbell said the most common question they received was “What are they?”