Steve Botham, chairman of the National Association of Police Fleet Managers (NAPFM), said: ‘There’s a move towards better-protected vehicles if they go to a terrorist scene where there may be secondary bombings. At the moment a lot of police cars are not protected. We will move to lightweight armour on the vehicle so we have a better chance of survival. There will be more of them through the fleet. Instead of just special operations vehicles it will be spread through to the normal patrol car.’
Botham admitted that the increased alert level was putting a strain on fleets but insisted they were up to the task. He said: ‘There’s a tremendous resource drain on us in these cases but the police have to respond to these incidents. The vehicles have to be in first-class condition, available and able to get there without breaking down.’
Increasing protection involves the fitting of armoured plates to body panels as well as bullet-proof glass. Lightweight padding made of Kevlar can be fitted into the doors and underfloor, giving some protection against blasts and gunfire without a major effect on the vehicle’s performance.
More cars will house CCTV equipment and ‘black box’ data recorders to gather as much evidence as possible at a crime scene. Botham said: ‘We’re trying to get more data into the vehicle to use it as a mobile data platform. At a crime scene instead of trailing out huge, very expensive incident vehicles we could do it from a car that arrives there first.’