The country’s police fleets are expected to be merged to become regional fleet operations.
The proposals could see police force fleets merged into regional operations similar to the country’s ambulance fleets, which are now operated as 11 regional fleets.
However, the plans will still allow for a force’s fleet autonomy while merging back-office fleet requirements and operations.
This means the number of police fleet managers is unlikely to decline, at least in the short-term.
The proposals are being driven at the request of high-ranking police chiefs as well as police fleet managers who see the benefits of combining back-office operations as well as the buying power that larger regional fleets possess.
The main cost benefits of merging fleets are cost savings thanks to economies of scale and a combining of services.
“We have been asked to look at regional fleet management,” confirmed Richard Flint, chairman of the National Association of Police Fleet Managers (NAPFM) and head of the North Yorkshire Police fleet.
“The idea is that the police fleets will remain autonomous but the back offices will be combined.”
Police fleet managers attending the recent NAPFM conference were given advice on how to manage mergers from Geoff Craik, operation support manager at North East Ambulance Service, who has been involved and managed two fleet mergers at the ambulance service.
However, some police forces have already merged their fleet operations (see box out); and now others are set to follow.
The Chiltern Transport Consortium
There is already an example of a successful police fleet merger: the Chiltern Transport Consortium.
Thames Valley Police is the lead authority for the consortium, which now provides shared services and back office support functions for all the fleet requirements of Bedfordshire Police, Civil Nuclear Constabulary, Hertfordshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police.
The consortium was established in 2004, making the Thames Valley and Bedfordshire forces the first to totally integrate their fleet back office functions into a single shared service arrangement.
The move aimed to improve efficiency by setting up a shared service collaborative arrangement for the provision of fleet services and vehicles for the two forces.
When Hertfordshire Police joined in 2008, the consortium became responsible for managing a fleet of 2,000 vehicles across five counties, which covers approximately 35 million miles per year
The consortium is now recognised by Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary as a centre of excellence in fleet provision.