Meet the police in Cornwall swapping their patrol cars for electric bikes

  • Watch Charlotte Gay's report

Police in Cornwall say doing their neighbourhood patrols on their electric bikes is making them much better at their jobs.

Devon and Cornwall Police are testing out 18 e-bikes in a trial with Cornwall Council. Officers say it has been so successful they are drawing up plans to buy approximately 50 bikes to be used across the region.

PSCO Candice Britten says the electric bikes are "brilliant" and she's speaking to people more often as people feel more comfortable stopping her.

"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'."

Officers reported they felt like they were easier to approach on a bike compared to a car Credit: ITV News

PSCO Britten also says she is covering a lot more ground on a bike in the middle of a town than if she was on foot or in a car.

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 e-bikes are being used in neighbourhoods from Saltash to the Isles of Scilly and Superintendent Ian Thompson says the feedback from officers has been "exceptional".

He told ITV News West Country: "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."

As the cost of fuel goes up, Devon and Cornwall police says the ebikes could be a greener way to get around. Credit: ITV News

At a time when the cost of fuel is going up, SuperIntendent Thompson says he is drafting a proposal for the force to spend approximately £100,000 buying around 30 e-bikes in Cornwall and 20 in Devon.

"The return on investment compared to using a normal patrol vehicle is around three years based on the figures of 25 miles a week. So it's going to be cost effective."