The trial use of e-bikes for Cornish police officers has been a great success, and the police force now plans to invest in another 50 e-bikes, in addition to the 18 already being used for neighbourhood patrols. Officers have commented how much easier it is for them to cover the ground, allowing them to be more present in the community.
Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) in St Ives, Falmouth, Truro, Newquay, and other towns across the region are currently trialling the bikes as part of their efforts to build community relations and reduce antisocial behaviour. The scheme is being funded by the council in collaboration with Devon & Cornwall police.
PSCO Candice Britten told ITV news: "You feel like you are so much more approachable on a bike than you are in a car. You drive past and lots of people see police and they say, 'Oh, I don't ever see police unless it's emergency'."
She added that the e-bikes allowed her to increase her presence and visibility on the streets. She said: "If you walk through the one of the towns you're working in, you probably walk through it once or twice in a day. On a bike, I could probably go through it 10 times a day, so I'm seeing more people."
The scheme has been popular with both officers and residents, who say it makes the police seem more approachable. It also reduces the use of patrol cars, and thus reduces the carbon footprint of the police service.
Superintendent Ian Thompson told the publication: “There was a little bit of hesitation to start with [but] now they've been using the bikes, they come back to me and say that they're invaluable. They're been able to get to areas that they weren't ordinarily able to access, either on foot or in vehicles."
The local council now plans to roll out the scheme across more towns throughout the region, and also to Isles of Scilly. They have also joined forces with the Wheels to Work initiative, which facilitates the use of e-bikes to help people travel to their place of work, education, or training.
Trudy Harrison said: “E-cycles offer a huge number of advantages, not only giving riders an efficient and healthy travel option, but also helping communities to benefit from reduced congestion in the area. Now Devon & Cornwall Police will also be able to see these benefits and more as e-cycles play a part in keeping our streets safe.”
The council is also promoting e-bikes as a way of reducing Co2 emissions in the area, particularly for shorter journeys in built-up areas.
Councillor Philip Desmonde, Cornwall’s cabinet member for transport, said: “Research shows that around a third of journeys made by car are of less than 5km, so using e-bikes instead could be a lower carbon alternative.”
Cornwall Council is also organising a series of e-bike roadshows in the region, so that residents can learn more about the health and environmental benefits of cycling.
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