More than 200 primary schoolchildren descended on Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service’s (MFRS) Training and Development Academy this week as part of a joint initiative aimed at educating young people about the dangers of off-road bikes.
Year 5 pupils from The Grange, St Elizabeth’s, St Phillips, English Martyrs and Lander Road primary schools visited the Storrington Avenue site on Thursday 19th September as part of an action-packed day, organised to help steer young people away from getting involved with the anti-social and illegal use of scrambler bikes.
The event – part of Operation Brookdale – saw pupils witness a re-enactment of a crash involving a scrambler bike, giving them an up-close account of the real dangers the bikes bring.
As well as the emergency services, the young people were visited by special guest Jamie Carragher, who spoke passionately about the need for educating young people about the risks of becoming involved in riding off-road bikes.
Merseyside Police’s Operation Brookdale was first introduced in 2012 as a response to a rise in incidents over the summer months and is now run all year round in partnership with MFRS, National Police Air Service helicopter, local authorities, housing associations, schools and youth groups.
Whilst there has been a reduction in recent years in the number of incidents involving scrambler bikes, the issue remains a top priority.
Merseyside Police Chief Constable, Andy Cooke, said: “The issue of off-road bikes causes nuisance, stress and serious risk to the communities of Merseyside and beyond. We’ve seen serious injuries, lives lost and families devastated.
“What does give us encouragement is the progress made in recent years, with incidents reducing, and we’re seeing seizures and arrests on a daily basis.
“But we’re not complacent, we know that incidents still do happen and can have such a negative impact on those residents affected. Key to our progress now and in the future is educational and early engagement with those who might be at risk of being involved.”
Thursday’s event was the result of partnership working between the police, fire service, Sefton Council and Merseyside Road Safety Partnership.
Chief Constable Cooke added: “Officers across Sefton work particularly close with partners to make young people aware of the potential dangers and help steer them away from getting involved with anti-social and illegal use of bikes, and this accident re-enactment is one of the many projects they have on the go, with the involvement of enthusiastic young people and their schools.