The call came as Hampshire Police fleet bosses showed Liberal Democrat leadership candidate Mark Oaten round the force’s transport workshop, based in the MP’s Winchester constituency. He said his visit proved useful to better his understanding of how a police fleet works.
Oaten, who is one of four leadership candidates, was hosted by the force’s fleet manager John Bradley, who hoped the visit would help improve the understanding of fleet matters by politicians.
Taking a break from the campaign trail, Oaten said fleets were critical to the running of an organisation.
During his two-hour visit, he was told how the fleet is managed and was given a demonstration of the RAC TranMan software used by Hampshire Police to monitor the performance of its 940 vehicles.
Oaten said: ‘Fleet management is absolutely critical to the police service. If you can’t have safe and reliable cars then it completely undermines their work. I’m incredibly impressed with Hampshire Constabulary and was very pleased that it has been working very closely with the other neighbouring forces.’
Bradley said Oaten’s visit demonstrated how more fleets could benefit by talking to politicians. He is now encouraging fleets to take advantage of MPs’ constituency days, which are weekdays spent in the constituency when Parliament is sitting.
He said: ‘The importance of opening up the doors is to give politicians a better understanding of fleet management. For example, he wasn’t aware that we can measure the CO2 output of our car fleet. For a politician, that’s an important issue in terms of environmental responsibility.
‘Fleet managers, whether in the private or public sector, need to take an opportunity when it becomes available to speak to their MPs and politicians about key issues that concern them. It will give them a better understanding of our industry.
‘By doing that we can oil the wheels for the future.’
On proposals to merge UK police forces, Oaten said: ‘One argument against police mergers is that you’d lose that important local connection and put the system in jeopardy.’
Oaten was also shown an unmarked Skoda Octavia vRS, equipped with Automatic Numberplate Recognition Cameras (ANPR), designed to identify cars that are uninsured or stolen.
Such technology is due to be installed in 40 of Hampshire’s police cars in the near future.