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UK first as Scots shopping mall launches bicycle patrols

SHOPPERS yesterday saw a retail chain with a difference at intu Braehead – after security staff started patrolling on bikes.

Youngsters Shay McGinn, aged four, from Johnstone with intu Braehead bike patroller Willie Carmichael

It’s thought the shopping mall and leisure destination is the first in the UK to equip its staff with bicycles to help them get around car parks, it’s riverside boardwalk and pathways.

On bike patrol, intu Braehead security staff, Mohammed Aswar and Willie Cunningham

Security staff, Willie Carmichael and Mohammed Aswar have now completed a training course on patrolling on bicycles, with tuition from an expert with the government-backed Cycling Scotland charity.

The idea for the cycle patrols around the shopping centre and the nearby Soar leisure destination came from intu Braehead’s operations manager, Paul Lucas.

He explained: “We are a 300-acre site and there’s a very large outside area we are responsible for. That includes several car parks with 6500 free spaces, the boardwalk along the River Clyde and the many walkways and cycle paths.

“We thought having some of our security staff on mountain bikes would be a good way of covering such a large area in a quick and environmentally friendly way.”

Paul added: “It also gives the public a reassurance that there’s help at hand no matter if they are inside or outside intu Braehead.

“Initially, we have purchased two bikes, but if required and if the initiative is successful, we can have more available for our staff to use.”

Caroline Hammond, Development Officer at Cycling Scotland, said: “Working with intu Braehead on this unique initiative has been a pleasure.

“Training security staff to cycle confidently as part of their daily rounds is an efficient and innovative way to embed cycling into everyday journeys.

“Cycling Scotland offers a range of training opportunities to help more people to cycle regularly, and it is great to see our training being implemented in this way.”