Brisbane newspaper The Courier Mail reported today on the big benefits Police are obtaining from patrolling their city’s busy South Bank riverside tourist zone on Segway Personal Transporters (PTs):
SOUTH Bank police draw a few surprised smiles from locals while on Segway patrol.
But frontline officers say the two-wheel machines have “quadrupled” their efficiency while on the streets.
City South News joined Sergeant Johan Louw and Constable Catherine Heywood on a recent patrol, to see first-hand how the devices are being used.
South Bank police station received two Segways in September as part of an ongoing trial, with 19 officers trained.
While on patrol last week, Sgt Louw and Constable Heywood were met with smiles, a few “hellos” and waves from children, and the reception was overwhelmingly positive.
Even a young man questioned over riding a bike without a helmet was overcome with curiosity and started quizzing the officers about how Segways work.
Sergeant Johan Louw and Constable Catherine Heywood from the Southbank Police Station. Picture: JOSH WONING Source: News Limited
Sgt Louw said compared with bicycles, Segways were easier to manoeuvre in crowds and could perform a 360-degree turn.
“We can do very slow speeds in and around crowds,” he said.
Sgt Louw said police Segways could reach 22km/h, delivered an improved line of sight and saved energy when rushing to an incident.
“By the time you get over there you’re still fresh,” Sgt Louw said.
But the machines have not replaced bicycle and foot patrols, with officers deciding each shift if they want to use the machines.
Sgt Louw said most citizens were very supportive.
Police in New Zealand have already identified locations around New Zealand where officers on Segway PTs could improve public safety. The first initiative was a trial conducted in the tourist town of Taupo along the lakefront several years ago. It is likely that Segway Patrols will roll out in New Zealand at some point in the future, and may first be seen in popular tourist towns such as Queenstown, summer ‘hot spots’ like Mount Maunganui and Whangamata, as well as in busy CBD areas such as the Auckland and Wellington waterfronts.