A POLICE force will be the first in the north to trial a James Bond-type radio.

The hand-held set to be used by Cleveland Police includes a global positioning system, which gives the location of an officer at any time.

It also cuts out interference from high buildings, trees and covered walkways, and allows an officer to summon help without saying a word, simply by pressing a button.

The equipment is being developed by Sepura, a leading supplier of police radios.

Ian Lund, project manager with Cleveland Police, said: "This radio will bring two significant benefits.

"When an officer's personal safety is under threat, we will be able to quickly locate them and send help, and knowing exactly where our staff are will ensure the force can better respond to incidents by deploying personnel closest to the crime scene.

"A number of officers and staff will be initially testing the radio throughout Teesside, and in coming months we expect those numbers to increase significantly.''

Cleveland is the 24th force in the UK to trial the radios, whose satellite tracking unit signal is so sensitive it will continue to operate when most conventional radios fail.

The system was demonstrated to senior police officers, MPs and representatives from public safety associations in London this week.

City of London Police has already placed an order for more than 1,000 of the devices.

Its officers will use them to police London's financial district when the force's new radio system goes live towards the end of this year.