Police forces across the country are considering deploying advanced telematics systems in an effort to drive down costs.
The National Association of Police Fleet Managers (NAPFM) told Fleet News that its members are keen to adopt the technology.
Dennis Ord, NAPFM chairman and head of transport for Surrey Sussex Joint Transport Service, said: “We are keen to use telematics. But we don’t see the technology as a total panacea, although it is part of a major approach to reducing costs, maximising vehicle utilisation and positively effecting driver behaviour.”
Taking a national approach will, says Ord, assist with achieving economies of scale for police forces wanting to utilise some form of telematics in vehicles
However, whether all police vehicles will one day be equipped with telematics remains to be seen.
Ord said: “Changes in police budgets mean we have to obtain more with less and we see a national approach as delivering the best value for money.
“The issue is whether individual forces have funding available for the upfront costs despite the payback over two or three years. It will be a difficult decision.”
Historically, many police forces have equipped a number of vehicles with telematics devices delivered by a wide range of suppliers.
The September 2012 publication of the Home Office/ACPO guidance is seen as a “major step forward” for the police service in producing a standardised telematics solution, which provides key management information to both managers and users which in turn leads to efficiency savings for the police service, with the ability to benchmark across forces in the future, thereby providing a platform for sharing best practice across forces.
Airmax business development director Richard Perham said: “Police forces are looking to telematics to manage driver behaviour and reduce crash rates but also other scenarios such as cutting out unnecessary mileage, cutting fuel use and compliance.
“We hope to win more police fleet contracts in the next 12 months and in the next five years telematics systems maybe part of the OEM specification contract for vehicles delivered from the factory.”
Sussex Police has fitted all 850 vehicles on its fleet with data incident recorders, while Surrey Police has equipped 400 response vehicles with journey data recorders out of a fleet of 700 vehicles.
Ord added: “As an Association we can learn a lot from those forces such as West Yorkshire Police that have gone ahead with total resource management systems, but we need a national approach for the technology to be fully effective.”