Senior Sergeant and officer in charge at the Ipswich police station Laurie Shevlin tries out the Rhino, a new police all terrain vehicle.
Senior Sergeant and officer in charge at the Ipswich police station Laurie Shevlin tries out the Rhino, a new police all terrain vehicle. Sarah Harvey

Watch out baddies

IT'S the type of vehicle you're more likely to see weaving in and out of beach towels and bikini babes at Surfers Paradise.

But soon Ipswich residents could see at least one of these nifty little buggies pounding the pavement of the CBD.

The Yamaha Rhino all-terrain vehicle was brought to Ipswich yesterday for a one-day trial to see if it could benefit local law enforcement.

The four-wheel-drive buggies have a single cylinder motor capable of reaching a speed of about 70kmh.

Should it ever need to venture off the beaten track, the vehicle comes with diff locks and aggressively treaded tyres.

Ipswich Acting Superintendent Greg Morrow said the success of the trial would determine whether the QPS would invest in an additional vehicle for the district.

"They could prove useful in the Ipswich Mall, as well as around our shopping centres and bikeways," he said.

"They are registered to go on the road as well if necessary.

"We're just looking at alternative things we can do to help police do their job more effectively - as well as having a greater presence in shopping areas."

Gold Coast Sergeant Mark Jackson, who has worked with the buggies extensively for three years, said the advantage of the Rhino over a motorcycle or foot patrol was in the amount of equipment that could be carried.

"They can take a first aid kit, fire extinguishers and bullet-proof vests," Sgt Jackson said.

"There is even a loop on the roll bar where you can handcuff an offender if necessary.

"They are extremely versatile."

CBD business manager Nathan Broad liked the idea.

"Having one parked ready to go here in town could help them get here quicker if there is any trouble," he said.

Some Ipswich Mall shoppers were not so sure. One man, who declined to be named, believed money could be better spent having more officers on the beat.

 

Rhino power

The Yamaha Rhino has a four-stroke, single overhead cam 686cc engine.

Retail price is about $11,000, but the police version is modified.

It comes with a limited slip diff and a locking diff.



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