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Police chief's Segway hopes for town patrol

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: November 16, 2011

A police officer on a Segway.

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POLICE officers in Newquay could be zipping around town on two-wheel Segway machines – if the resort's inspector gets his way.

Ian Drummond-Smith reckons the vehicles could be "very beneficial" after seeing them in action during a visit to Dinard in France.

The gadget-loving police chief even had a go on one of the self-balancing contraptions, and said he was impressed with the ease of operation.

He said the Segways could give his officers the upper hand in the war on crime, as they lifted riders eight inches off the ground – allowing for greater visibility – and could cover ground swiftly at speeds of up to 13mph.

Unfortunately for his plans, it's illegal to use the machines on UK roads, but Mr Drummond-Smith said he hoped this situation would change, sooner rather than later.


"When I visited the police in Dinard – in my own time, at no expense to the UK taxpayer – I was able to have a go on the Segways they use for patrol in the town," he said.

"The officers can cover a good amount of ground with them and are higher than pedestrians, so they can see what's going on.

"I had a go on one and they're very easy to use.

"I've investigated this before, but currently they're illegal to use on the road in the UK. If the law were changed, they would be a great tool for Newquay police.

"I wouldn't use them late at night outside the clubs, but during the daytime officers could put them to good use in and around the town centre."

Segways are used by police forces across the globe, including in the USA and Italy.

A trial in the London borough of Sutton drew a mixed reaction from locals, with some pointing out that criminals could easily evade capture simply by heading for the nearest flight of stairs.

Mr Drummond-Smith visited Dinard, Newquay's twin town, in September to compare notes with his French counterparts in crimefighting.

While the sleek Segways stole the limelight, he also used the opportunity to gather more ideas to improve policing in Newquay, such as increasing the size of prisoner cells.

In a report to the town council, he wrote: "It was also interesting to note that the French police use larger cells that can hold a number of prisoners. Such cells would be of benefit in Newquay."


Dinard police had been very interested in the "direction to leave" powers that saw dozens of troublemakers banned from Newquay during the summer, he said.

They were also impressed with the resort's CCTV system, and were in the process of installing the town's first four cameras.

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  • Thelonius2  |  November 17 2011, 1:40PM

    I'm sorry, they look tridiculous, they aren't quick enough to give chase on and once the operating Policeman has dismounted to give chase on foot, the abandoned Segway will be left to be abused or stolen. A complete non-starter of an idea.

  • bobb743  |  November 17 2011, 11:07AM

    I always new that sitting around in cars all of the time would do harm,they have lost the use of their legs.

  • josdave  |  November 16 2011, 3:49PM

    Speeds up to 13mph. A good sprinter could easily outrun that and as has been said it would look ridiculous and is useless on steps so please think again.

  • J4ssification  |  November 16 2011, 3:09PM

    Oh dear.... no no no! I can think of MUCH better things for Newquay Police Station to spend their money on... Ian D S - what are you THINKING?

  • LizzieLean  |  November 16 2011, 11:52AM

    think he will get a lot of abusive comments if he rides that around as he does look silly