Fleet News

Police fleets ready for force upheaval

POLICE fleet managers across England and Wales are playing a waiting game to find out what effects proposed mergers of forces could have on their future.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has suggested radical steps to reduce the number of constabularies from 43 to 12 ‘to meet the challenges of the modern world’.

The idea has been controversial in most aspects of police work.

But Steve Botham, chairman of the National Association of Police Fleet Managers (NAPFM) and fleet manager of Wiltshire Police, said fleets were already working side by side in many ways so the proposals may not have too much of an effect on the fleet manager’s role.

He said: ‘All of the police regions have been collaborating on fleet for a number of years.

Effects of any changes would depend on the regional policy structure, Botham said, whether dictated by a committee of fleet managers or by a newly created regional fleet manager, to whom other operators would report to.

However, he added that the real effect on police fleets would not be known until the merger plans are firmed up after Christmas.

John Bradley, chairman of the South East branch of the NAPFM and fleet manager for Hampshire Police, said in statement: ‘Naturally, fleet managers are aware of the Home Secretary’s direction that, in essence, we should have fewer, larger forces.

‘Mobility is a key aspect of all police operations, regardless of size of force. However, fewer larger forces might well assist in securing economies of scale etc. I, and my colleagues, will contribute to relevant studies with enthusiasm. The challenge for us will to ensure any revised force structure incorporates best fleet management practice.’

He agreed with Botham that fleets were already ahead of the game where collaboration was concerned.

He said: ‘Outside of the recent debate regarding the merge of forces during the last year or more we have been collaborating anyway with a number of forces.

‘Fleet managers within the police service are being proactive regardless of what’s being debated. We think working together is for the benefit of us all.’

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