Surrey Police's Vanguard Road Safety Team have added a folding e-bike to their fleet. "We can’t be everywhere, but could be anywhere," said the force to explain its undercover use of an electric Brompton.
The operation seems to be a cousin of the one pioneered by West Midlands Police to catch motorists who pass cyclists too closely. In this case, however, the emphasis seems to be on other offences – in particular distracted driving.
Surrey Live reports that dozens of drivers have been caught in the last few days, including the driver of a Range Rover who was spotted driving "inappropriately" through Guildford town centre and subsequently failed a drug test.
Officers stuck the Brompton in the boot of the vehicle before driving it away.
The driver of this Ranger Rover was seen driving inappropriately through Guildford town centre by the cycling #VanguardRST Skipper.— Roads Policing - Surrey Police - UK (@SurreyRoadCops) August 26, 2022
The driver failed a DrugsWipe and was arrested.
Bonus of a @BromptonBicycle fold up bike is it can go in the suspects boot when we move it. pic.twitter.com/9kFtMf8WPa
In most cases, drivers were stopped for using their phones (five in two hours and another six on Thursday) after failing to realise that an officer had just cycled up next to them.
The little #VanguardRST e-bike from @BromptonBicycle has had a busy couple of hours.
In two hours:
5x Drivers on their phone
1x Disqualified Driver
1x Drug Driver
1x Vehicle in Dangerous Condition
1x Illegal plates
Longest time between stops: 7 minutes.#Fatal5 pic.twitter.com/KZwLPKKwEk— Roads Policing - Surrey Police - UK (@SurreyRoadCops) August 25, 2022
Other offences included driving while disqualified; driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition; illegal plates; driving without a licence or insurance; driving without due care; dangerous driving; and obstructing police.