Photograph of PSNI bicycle
Source: Police Museum
A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) bicycle used to patrol Belfast City Centre. The Independent Commission into Policing in Northern Ireland (Patten) report found that policing in Northern Ireland had become distorted by the sustained threat of terrorist attacks. Patten envisaged a new police force, that operated in a secure society and was free to work closely with the public. He advocated that “policing with the community” should be a core function of the PSNI and recommended that every neighbourhood or rural area should have a dedicated policing team consisting of officers with three to five years experience of that location. These officers would wear name badges and patrol their area by foot or bicycle.
In July 2007, the PSNI commenced their Neighbourhood Policing Programme to give every "neighbourhood" access to local policing and 147 bicycles were purchased for patrolling these areas. In 2016, there are 26 Local Policing Teams (LPTs) and 34 Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPTs) in Northern Ireland. Their aim is to protect people in their communities, prevent crime and detect offenders. Officers in LPTs are assigned ownership of a particular area and are tasked with dealing with crime and community issues. NPTs provide an additional dedicated policing presence in areas of high crime or disorder. Budget restrictions and the dissident Republican threat has prevented the PSNI from supporting high visibility patrolling in all areas.