Police could get Ghostbusters-style backpacks in fightback against fleeing e-bike criminals

14 May 2024, 20:15 | Updated: 14 May 2024, 20:18

Police could get Ghostbusters-style backpacks in a bid to stop fleeing e-bike criminals
Police could get Ghostbusters-style backpacks in a bid to stop fleeing e-bike criminals. Picture: Alamy / Columbia Pictures

By Danielle De Wolfe

Forces across the UK could be about to don Ghostbusters-style backpacks in an attempt to halt e-bike getaways.

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The new backpacks would contain a device capable of firing electromagnetic rays capable of shutting down the batteries which power e-bikes.

Many have likened the devices to the 'proton pack' made famous by the 1984 Ghostbusters film starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Sigourney Weaver.

The film featured the fictional rucksacks, capable of disarming ghosts by shooting a high-powered 'proton' beam, with many likening the device to the designs proposed for use by the force.

The increased availability of the two-wheeled method of transport has led them to become a get-away method favoured by many criminals.

The new backpacks would contain a device capable of firing electromagnetic rays capable of shutting down the batteries which power e-bikes.
The new backpacks would contain a device capable of firing electromagnetic rays capable of shutting down the batteries which power e-bikes. Picture: Alamy

The new design, which is said to currently be under development, could now see officers target vehicles being ridden recklessly or used to make a quick escape.

The high-speed bikes regularly enable thieves - such as mobile phone snatchers and pick-pockets - to evade police.

Gavin Stephens, chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), said the devices were still in development, but could even be rolled out in the coming months.

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"It is experimental at the moment but that is the new sort of tech that we need to keep us safer," said Mr Stephens.

The device is said to have been developed with the Defence Science and Technology Lab.

The new backpacks would contain a device capable of firing electromagnetic rays capable of shutting down the batteries which power e-bikes.
The new backpacks would contain a device capable of firing electromagnetic rays capable of shutting down the batteries which power e-bikes. Picture: Columbia Pictures

'All these electric motors apparently have an inbuilt safety system that if it thinks it's overheating, it shuts down,' Stephens said during a media briefing on Monday.

The invisible 'pulse' would then 'confuse' the e-bike's system, tricking it into thinking it is overheating and therefore forcing a shut down.

Overseen by the Ministry of Defence, any officer using the device would have to ensure a clear line of vision in order for it to work correctly - in much the same way a taser does.

According to The Guardian, the devices were demonstrated to police leaders at the Farnborough technology show earlier in the year.

Stephens added: “They were also telling me it has the potential to be useful with normal combustion engine vehicles.”