Police motorcycle `is danger to lives'

Police forces across the UK were under pressure last night to withdraw a controversial police motorcycle from service after a coroner ruled it was a "serious and continued" threat to riders' lives.

Police forces across the UK were under pressure last night to withdraw a controversial police motorcycle from service after a coroner ruled it was a "serious and continued" threat to riders' lives.

He said riding the standard police issue Honda ST1300, which is issued by 22 forces in England and Wales, could have "catastrophic results".

Coroner Dr James Adeley announced he would write to every chief constable in the country warning them of the motorbikes.

He was speaking at the conclusion of an inquest into the death of police motorcyclist David Shreeve who was thrown from his bike on a training exercise.

The married father-of-two, who worked for Merseyside Police, was crushed to death under a lorry after he fell from his Honda Pan European ST1300A.

The inquest in Lancaster heard PC Shreeve lost control of the bike after it began to shake violently while at high speed.

The phenomenon, known as high speed weave is a sideways snaking motion which makes the bike uncontrollable.

Despite multiple safety checks there are still around 450 police Honda ST1300s being used by officers across the country.

Merseyside Police withdrew all their models from service after the incident.

One examiner described the bike as having the "worst weave on any bike he had tested in his career" and he had been so afraid he had looked for a safe place to jump off the bike four times.

Preston and West Lancashire coroner Dr Adeley heard PC Shreeve, 38, was travelling at around 110mph along the M58 motorway near Skelmersdale, Lancashire, on November 9, 2005, when the incident occurred.

He was on an advanced police motorcycle course with an instructor and one other pupil, PC Gil Smith.

Dr Adeley recorded a narrative verdict into the death absolving Mr Shreeve of any blame.

The inquest heard the extra equipment fitted to police versions of the Honda Pan European ST1300A altered the bikes' centre of gravity. At speeds of more than 80mph, combined with variable road conditions the motorcycles became unreliable.

The bikes were issued to police forces in November 2002 but by January the following year officers had already begun to report the weave fault.

Dr Adeley concluded his summing up saying: "I propose to write individually to all chief constables of England and Wales to inform them from the evidence that I have heard during the course of this inquest."

He said that "in police specification" the bike poses a "serious and continued threat to the health and life of officers using the motorcycle in excess of 80mph".

PC Shreeve's wife Jeanette, four-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter were too upset to attend yesterday's inquest.

A Honda spokeswoman said: "We have co-operated fully with the investigation into the accident and will continue to liaise with the police in light of the coroner's verdict."

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