Headlines: January 18th, 2011

Electric bikes are being adopted by police forces to cut crime. They cover ground more quickly than conventional bikes and allow instant access to areas usually inaccessible by car, such as narrow alleyways and footpaths.

E-bikes are legally classified as bicycles, provided they have motors of 250 watts or less and a top assisted speed not exceeding 15.5mph. They look similar to ordinary bicycles but incorporate a rechargeable battery, an electric motor and a control system. The level of assistance is directly proportional to the amount of pressure applied to the pedals. These features provide the opportunity to deploy Wisper e-bikes in Community Policing in a number of effective ways. The added boost of an electric motor enables the rider to respond and cycle at speed when necessary, even in hilly terrain. At the other end of the spectrum, officers can carefully weave through busy pedestrianised areas, providing a highly visible and approachable police presence.

Several UK Police forces use Wispers in Community Policing, as response vehicles and at high profile events, such as the Golf Open in St Andrews. The bikes are used by forces as diverse as Dundee, Surrey, North Wales and now trialling at City of London Police.