"The Pc was on patrol with a sergeant in Hackney when they spotted four youths on bikes they wanted to question and followed them.
Three pedalled off but the fourth pulled out a gun and opened fire on the officers. The bullet missed."According to the Hackney Gazette the incident took place on Greenwood Road, off Dalston Lane (where a mobile police station was set up over the weekend)
This very interesting brief history of Hackney's bike unit (I hope it's genuine) explains that cops on bikes is the best way to combat gangsters on bikes. It also says that overtly taking photos of gangs likely to cause trouble for small patrols generally deterred violence:
"A recent tactic that we have started to employ with considerable success is overt photography of persons believed to be involved in street crime... It has one additional benefit that has been invaluable in looking after officer safety - when a group of suspects tries to interfere in our conduct of a stop, the overt use of the camera causes them to scatter at speed."
The piece also explains that once the bike team had developed a reputation in the area it was less likely for people to try and run away: "A fair number of persons, both on foot and on bikes, elected to try to run away from us at this time. We found that we caught them in these circumstances on over 90% of occasions as a result of the speed of our bikes, our ability to follow suspects through estates and our developing tactics - when a chase started my cyclists would 'starburst' and cover every escape route the suspect might take. Having been in operation for four months, we now find that suspects running away from us are a rarity - it's clear that our ability to catch people has been communicated throughout Hackney."
The team was set up when: "It became apparent that a significant contributor to this problem was caused by youths riding on mountain bikes. These proved very difficult to stop due to their speed and the heavy traffic - both pedestrian and vehicular - in the area."
Will Hackney police be targeting gangs on bikes again? (Hackney police beat bike gangs): "As a result of the operations, 649 stops of youths were made over the four day period, resulting in 42 arrests for a variety of offences including possession of an offensive weapon, burglary, handling stolen pedal cycles, possession of drugs and being wanted on warrant for ABH and GBH. Twenty tickets were issued for a variety of traffic laws."
And is there any relation to a rise in the number of bikes being stolen?
(From the Hackney Gazette):
"Haggerston and Queensbridge are among the worst 10 wards in the capital, according to new figures from the Met Police.
In Haggerston, 237 bikes were stolen between July 1, 2008, and June 30 this year - making it the eighth worst ward in London.
The ninth worst was Queensbridge, where 223 bicycles were stolen during the same period."