Fleet News

Police fleet managers’ annual conference

BIG Government grants for police vehicles are coming to an end and managers will have to use nationwide procurement deals to increase the efficiency of police fleets.

Earlier in the year, the National Association of Police Fleet Managers (NAPFM) adopted an advisory ‘national framework’ which recommended certain manufacturers in the three categories of police car, in a bid for increased buying power (see fact file below).

Martin Sykes, from HM Treasury’s Efficiency Team, told the conference, held at the De Vere Hotel in Swindon, that better value for money would be key to running police fleets in the future.

He said: ‘The ‘fat years’ of Government money are coming to an end. There’s going to have to be very clear leadership.

‘It’s very clear now that that money is running out and there could be budget cuts in the future.’

Lynne Potts, assistant chief constable of Greater Manchester Police (GMP), also head of fleet management and transport portfolio for the Association of Chief Police Officers spoke on the importance of forces to work together and urged fleet managers to continuously monitor and question their spending to ensure that all costs were necessary.

She said: ‘We can’t do all these things by ourselves. The only way to maximise performance is collaboration on a local, regional and national level. It is only by sharing thoughts and ideas that we will progress.’

Potts admitted the national framework agreement had its critics through its restriction of choice, but she had no time for them.

She said: ‘The people that say national frameworks don’t give them enough flexibility are dinosaurs.’

Richard Flint, head of transport for Strathclyde Police, added: ‘Yes, there is going to be restricted choice but hopefully it’s the right choice. We’ve found that there are too many models within each category of vehicle. If we can standardise on a vehicle we can standardise on equipment and it’s quite dramatic the savings we can make.’

Police face up to terrorist challenge

The July 7 London terrorist bombings were a hot topic for debate among delegates.

Lynne Potts, assistant chief constable of Greater Manchester Police (GMP), said the threat of terrorism highlighted the need for professional expertise and passion, for which she singled out police fleet managers.

Increased tensions meant that in the current political climate police fleets would be heavily scrutinised, making the need for control and expertise even more important, according to David Pranauskas, assistant risk control manager at Gallagher Bassett.

He said: ‘Monitoring and reviewing risk control strategies is essential. Measure your successes and tell people about them.’

Lexus

SUVs fall outside the new marked vehicle framework agreement, so Lexus used the show to try and persuade forces to consider their new hybrid RX400h.

Hampshire Police has already tested the vehicle and Lexus has high hopes that more will try and like the performance SUV.

It sports a 3.3-litre V6 with a 165bhp front electric motor, high voltage battery and generator. A second rear electric motor gives the vehicle electric four-wheel drive that is automatically engaged when required.

Land Rover

LOOKING thoroughly muscular on the Land Rover stand was a new Discovery 3 wearing police livery.

Dave Easton, Land Rover’s corporate sales manager, said: ‘Land Rover has a long association with blue light in its broadest sense and we have started to promote the Discovery 3 in police specification.

‘We plan to circulate a number of demonstrators and we’ve already supplied 10 vehicles to help with support for the G8 conference.’

Easton said the Highways Agency, which now has responsibility for the UK’s motorways, already has 25 Discovery 3s working on the M25.

Peugeot

PEUGEOT was showing off a liveried version of its new 107 city car, alongside its Expert van and a 1007 outfitted for paramedics.

John Morton, Peugeot’s fleet sales manager for specialist fleets, said: ‘The 107 was a little bit tongue-in-cheek because it’s very small and the police need a lot of space.

‘Having said that, a number of forces saw the car as a very good option for community officers.

‘There’s an opportunity there but we’re not quite sure how big that opportunity is yet.’

‘There were some people from other emergency services at the show and that’s a market we’re looking to get into.’

Jaguar

JAGUAR is hoping to get liveried versions of the S and X types onto the national vehicle framework agreement.

Corporate sales manager Dave Easton said: ‘The framework agreement is a recommendation to police, it’s not mandatory. Police fleet managers are all kings of their own empires, if they have a specific requirement they can go off and buy these vehicles. They’re not bound by the framework agreement.’

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