Police withdraw bikes after crash [2007/04]


Scottish police forces have taken a number of motorcycles out of service
after the death Active Imageof an officer in a crash in England

Merseyside Police motorcyclist David Shreeve was crushed under a lorry after falling from his Honda ST 1300A.    The bike was the same model used by three Scottish forces.   An inquest into Constable Shreeve's death in 2005 found he crashed after his bike began shaking violently as he reached about 110mph.

The inquest in April heard that the problem, known as high speed weave, only affects the police version of the motorcycles as they are fitted with extra kit which affects the centre of gravity.  
Coroner Dr James Adeley said that since the death, several of the ST 1300As had undergone safety checks.   In one test an examiner broke a leg and fractured both wrists after experiencing similar problems.

On Friday, the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) recommended that they should be withdrawn from use.   Meredydd Hughes, Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police and head of the Acpo uniformed operations business area, said: "Detailed testing was carried out on a sample of motorcycles from a number of forces.

"Following this testing, aspects of the maintenance and set-up of the motorcycle were considered, and as an interim measure, precautionary guidance was issued to all forces, limiting the speed and use to which these motorcycles should be put. "Individual chief constables used these guidelines to determine the approach they would take, given the high level of confidence in the motorcycle expressed by a number of officers."

Risk assessment
Strathclyde Police have withdrawn their 31 bikes from operational use until a risk assessment has been carried out.    They insisted it was purely a precaution and steps have been taken to make up the shortfall.    A spokeswoman said: "Following a recommendation from Acpo, we have temporarily withdrawn the ST 1300 motorcycles from operational use until a risk assessment has been carried out.  "This is purely a precautionary measure which has been taken in the interest of officer and public safety."  Central Scotland Police have taken their three bikes off the road, while Lothian and Borders have already modified their 10 bikes to stop them reaching more than 100mph. 

A Honda spokesman said: "Following the recent inquest into the death of David Shreeve, the coroner recommended that the Honda ST1300 should not be used in excess of 80mph.

"Ten days ago, Honda met with the ACPO working group to discuss this, and it was jointly agreed that the bike should be withdrawn from service immediately in the interests of safety, pending further investigation and tests."

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