Devon & Cornwall Police is currently testing the use of e-bikes to improve the visibility of some of its officers. The trial has already proven such a success that there are plans to invest in another 50 bikes.
The trial – which is being run with Cornwall Council and is funded by the Department for Transport – has seen PCSOs riding e-bikes in St Ives, Falmouth, Torpoint, Newquay, Bodmin, Liskeard, Truro, Camborne and Hayle in a bid improve community engagement and reduce anti-social behaviour.
PSCO Candice Britten told ITV that the bikes are "brilliant" and that riding one has helped her speak to more people.
"You feel like you are so much more approachable on a bike than you are in a car,” she said. “You drive past and lots of people see police and they say, 'Oh, I don't ever see police unless it's emergency'."
The e-bike has also helped her cover more ground.
"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."
Britten’s comments apparently reflect wider feedback and a proposal is being drafted to invest £100,000 in another 50 e-bikes.
"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,” said Superintendent Ian Thompson. “They're been able to get to areas that they weren't ordinarily able to access, either on foot or in vehicles."