Personality of the Month - Chris Payne, City of Hereford Police

Chris Payne

What is your job or other main activity that involves cycling?
I am the Local Policing Sergeant for the City of Hereford Police. Currently I manage five Constables and seven PCSOs. All but one of these staff police on bicyles. Our principal mode of transport is the bicycle, and my staff spend a minumum of 80% of their time patrolling on bicyles.

How long have you done that?
Three and a half years - the happiest times of my service.

What most encourages you about cycling where you live?
It’s a beautiful medieval city with outlying commuter belt residential and industrial estates. We have no bypass so the fastest way to get about is by bicycle. We can cover the ground quickly, and rather than being stuck inside ‘bubble’ of a patrol car, we can engage with the public at a personal level and turn around ‘on a six pence’.

What most discourages you about cycling where you live?
Absolutely nothing discourages me about policing from a bicycle. Officer sickness levels have been more than halved within my Unit, because officer fitness and morale have grown by leaps and bounds. As far as I can see, there is no ‘downside’.

How would you describe yourself as a cyclist?
Experienced, safe, fit - but ‘devoted’ is probably the single word that captures my cycling character.

What is you earliest cycling memory?
Cycling my tricycle as a little kid, and witnessing my brother crash his Raleigh two-wheeler.

Chris PayneWhere is the best place you have ever cycled?
As a commuter, I was really impressed with Tours and Rennes in France - very cycle friendly.
As a tourer, it had to be Mallorca - the mountain roads are to die for.

What is your greatest achievement, in terms of encouraging more people to cycle?
Easy. I transformed an entire Police Station and their staff to cycling - as both commuters and professionals - and then sent the patrol cars back to the car pool as they were superfluous. If we make an arrest - and we do so often - we can whistle up a carrier van to transport the detainee to the Divisional Headquarters. I did think about a tandem, but…

What single thing do you think would do most to encourage more cycling in the UK?
That’s a no-brainer. De-regulate cyclists in one way streets. I have seen this work successfully on the continent and see this as a definite step forward.

What has been your favourite cycling experience?
Privately, cycling across Europe. Policing wise - converting both my Police Inspectors and the Assistant Chief Constable to cycle-patrolling.

What is it about using your bike that you like the most?
I have twelve bikes - all for different reasons. Each has got a purpose and character of it’s own. My lady calls it my ‘harem’. It’s the exhilaration and the thrill of being out and about on mankind’s greatest invention.

And from his supervisor…

PS PAYNE has been an advocate, adviser and ambassador for cycling, inside and outside the Police Station. The bicycles we had were under-maintained, ‘one size fits all’ and very uncool. Now there is a long list of officers who wish to volunteer for this kind of duty.

Many foot and cyclepaths have the potential of being difficult to police. Chris has deployed his team to cover these routes so that the community can have faith in their safety day and night. He has rolled out Cycle Training in Schools through his teams, so that parents are assured that their kids are safe in their commute. He has even mounted cycle patrols to counter dog fouling, issuing advice, guidance, warnings and even polythene bags.

Chris has transformed the cycling landscape and ethos of the Police in Hereford City and the broader community through his exemplary leadership, innovation and self-motivation.

Insp Nick SEMPER

The answers given are the opinion of the individual and do not necessarily reflect those of any organisation they may represent.


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