Vauxhall is offering an off-the-shelf integrated prison cell in its Vivaro van to 54 police forces in the UK – a first for a van manufacturer.
The company is claiming a major advantage as the cell is designed specifically for the Vivaro, and has faced rigorous safety tests.
Fleet News witnessed how robust the cell structure is during a live demonstration for police fleet managers creating a simulated head-on collision from 30mph.
The cell remained intact, remaining attached securely to the interior of the Vivaro, and crash test dummies sat inside appeared not to have moved.
Prisoner occupants cannot be restrained in cell vehicles as seatbelts may be used as weapons.
Vauxhall’s cell van is based on the Vivaro Combi and uses existing validated mounting points.
The cell can be installed and removed easily, while the rear-facing seats in the cell offer better protection for occupants.
The prison cell will be available installed in a Vivaro fitted with two rows of seating configured for up to six occupants, and is installed at the companies Speacial Vehicle Operations facility at Millbrook in Bedfordshire.
Vauxhall’s manager of vehicle conversions Dick Ellam said: “We have considered the potential risk to all the occupants of the vehicle in the event of a crash.
“Firstly we have ensured the installation is robust and there is no intrusion into the area immediately in front of the cell that could pose a potential risk of injury to occupant of the second row seating.
“Secondly we have considered the potential risk to unrestrained occupants of the cell and have chosen a seating arrangement that minimises this risk.
“The result is an extremely robust package which is unique to the market and a major step forward for the safety of Police van occupants.”