Bicycle cops patrol Kuching’s tourism belt

From left to right: Bicycle Patrol Unit personnel Izuandy Ismail, Khairi, Muhd Shah Reil and Awang Fairul Anuar.

KUCHING, Sept 5: The sight of young, strapping policemen patrolling on mountain bicycles has become part of the scenery along the Kuching Waterfront.

To serve in a tourist destination as busy and popular as the Kuching Waterfront, police personnel are expected to be friendly and helpful, and these policemen are.

According to their leader for the day, Corporal Khairi Anuar, there are presently six personnel in the Bicycle Patrol Unit.

They take turns to work either the morning shift from 8am to 4pm or afternoon shift from 4pm to 10pm.

“We cover the so-called ‘tourism-belt’ from Jalan Gambir, Main Bazaar, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Carpenter Street, and India Street to Open Air Market.

“Our main job is to patrol the area near Kuching Waterfront and its surrounding tourist areas.

“We are to protect and ensure the safety of tourists from snatchers, pickpockets, and thieves, and also grant tourists help whenever they need it,” Khairi, who is from Kelantan, told DayakDaily.

The Bicycle Patrol Unit has been in active service on and off over the years. Khairi said the present team was revived end of last year.

Khairi who has been a policemen for over a decade is not new to the job. He was in the Bicycle Unit five years ago before the unit slowly wound down, before it was revived again end of last year.

“Yes, we have managed to catch snatchers and pickpockets previously — at least four or five cases that I can remember.

“But since the Bicycle Patrol Unit was revived again end of last year, there has not been any case where we caught them red-handed,” said Khairi.

He said his unit was revived to complement other police units such as those on the beats and traffic police to ensure Kuching is safe for visitors.