Police riding in style

  • 2010-09-08
  • By Gunta Kursisa

RIGA - The Latvian State Police Traffic monitoring bureau now patrols on streets of Riga and on state highways with 16 new BMW motorbikes. The company selling these bikes, BM Auto, satisfied the strictly set demands called for in the open competition for the contract.

Specifically designed for the needs of the state police motorcycle, the motorcycles and equipment cost almost 250,000 lats (357,100 euros), according to official data of the Ministry of the Interior. The sixteen new motorbikes are next year’s model - 2011 - and Latvian policeman are the first ones who use them on the job, said Junior Officer Andris Rotkajs. The new bikes’ universal joint has an antiskid system and antilock brake system and are more stable than former vehicles.
Technical specifications of the competition defined that the motorbike speed should reach at least 200 kilometers per hour; the engine should have at least 100 horsepower, attenuation distortion of radio communications and other technical requirements, including a factory installed fire extinguisher, GPS transmitter and other items. The decision to allocate funds for the 16 motorbikes was made in autumn 2009, though for the open competition these applied only one participant – BM Auto.

Traffic policeman Janis (name changed) agrees that the formerly used motorcycles had too little power. “It was hardly possible to overtake even average cars,” he said. New motorcycles were needed, but there are other, more fundamental needs for the better work of traffic police, obtaining petrol, for example, believes Janis.

Janis says that the shortage of petrol for the traffic police causes police to change their traffic monitoring locations less often. Drivers on the road usually inform each other about the vicinity of existing road police cars. “The loyalty of drivers and possible offenders of the road police is understandable,” says Janis, but “still, with this system, when drivers inform other drivers about the road police, fewer law breakers can be caught and more accidents happen.” The possibility to change the police cars’ location would often be a more effective method in restricting, for example, speeders, he admits.
The officer says his workplace lacks of other resources, too. Radar for measurement of drivers’ speed on the road, video equipment, riot gear, footwear.

Financing for the motorbikes comes from the 2 percent compulsory drivers’ insurance OCTA, paid by all drivers. The road police have their hands full. According to the Road Traffic Safety Directorate (CSDD) data, in April 2010 there were 1,257,366 registered vehicles on the roads.

In April 2010, Interior minister Linda Murniece (New Era) asked the States Police for an explanation of the purchase of these motorcycles. The initial price tag was 300,000 lats, before the