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 Officers use e-bikes to respond to plea for help from vulnerable woman

 04/07/2019

​Electric bikes proved to be a life-saver when officers were called to reports of a vulnerable woman.

Vital minutes were saved by PCs Terry Archbold and Sean Martin using the force’s new e-bikes and ensured the woman was given the help and support she required.

Concerns were raised for the welfare of the female who had been sighted in the Chester-le-Street area last month.

Without an exact location and knowledge that a car may not be able to access all of the necessary locations and going by foot would take too long, the two officers headed out on the bikes.

They found the woman within ten minutes of the initial call being made.
Chester-le-Street Neighbourhood Inspector Dave Coxon said: “On the emergency response teams we regularly respond to 999 calls where a person may be missing or lost and there is a risk to the life of a person either due to age, ailment or suffering a mental health crisis. 

“The e-bikes have proved a tremendously adaptable asset in that they can go where vehicles are unable whilst allowing officers the ability to travel at much greater speed than on foot. 

“We were called to a high risk to life incident where officers using the bikes were able to get into and search streets and a park. 

“Within 10 minutes of the call coming in, those officers successfully located the vulnerable individual and were able to prevent them from coming to harm. We could not have done that so quickly without the e-bikes. They are literally proving to be life-savers.”

Durham Constabulary currently has two Focus Aventura 2 e-bikes which are based in Chester-le-Street and are used by a number of trained Police officers and PCSOs.

The bikes are pedal assist and the electric motor only provides assistance when the rider is cycling and can provide 250 additional watts of power – up to 15.5mph. Any further speed has to come from the rider or gravity.

They were introduced only a few weeks ago but have already clocked up more than 500 miles and have been used for regular patrols, engaging with the community, tackling anti-social behaviour, and searching for suspects and missing people.

Officers will be patrolling the Chester-le-Street area throughout the summer, paying particular attention to those areas which are hard to reach on foot.

A number of locations have been highlighted in Riverside Park, including the nature reserve, Sandy Bay and the ‘V’ bridge.

If you need to talk to someone at any time, Samaritans is available round the clock on 116 123.