With drastic cuts in fleet managers budgets of up to 30% and all forces feeling the impact, when James Alpe Vehicle Conversions were awarded the regional cell van contract for North Yorkshire and Humberside Police, they decided significant improvements in cell design needed to be made.
They went back to the drawing board and started looking at designs which would offer cost savings to fleet managers whilst at the same time improve on current cell designs.
“We came up with the concept of a re-useable cell which could fit into any vehicle”, said Steve Bennett, the companies conversions manager. “We put the suggestion to the fleet managers involved who embraced the idea immediately”.
The concept then became a prototype which was inspected by the fleet managers involved at various stages of build.
James Alpe wanted to offer an alternative to the traditional fixed cell design and have achieved this by developing a modular sectional cell which can easily be adapted to suit individual and regional specifications. The cell construction is made up of five main panels which can be interchanged or replaced depending on size and dimensions of the base vehicle. The design was based on a Vauxhall Vivaro in the first instance, but by simply removing a side pod,can be adapted to fit a smaller single cell type vehicle. Varying force requirements are catered for with the provision of sliding, drop down, or side opening emergency exit within the crew area, and the main prisoner access aperture can also be altered with a wider centre section.
“Once the original vehicle has reached end of life, the cell can simply be removed, resized where required and re-finished to be installed into a brand new vehicle’ said Steve, ‘the vehicles are now being rolled out across North Yorkshire Police Force and have been met with much approval from users”.
The company are now hoping that their cost saving cell design will be accepted as a national specification.