The report below has been written by the Fleet Manager, John Bradley, in 2001, who has had a unique insight, over the last 33 years, into the development of the Force Transport Department.
In recent years Hampshire Constabulary Transport Department has been in the forefront in seeking to develop new power sources to meet future environmental needs.
“I was born into the motor trade, my father owning one of the early Renault dealerships based in Winchester after the war. H L Bradley`s. In my school holidays I used to spend time working on a variety of vehicle types, stripping engines, suspension, gearboxes etc.
I joined Hampshire Constabulary on the 11th February 1968 as a junior in the parts department, dealing with the supply of vehicle spares and police special equipment to the four in house workshops, in those days we were operating Hillman Minx, Austin A110 and Hillman Husky patrol cars, in addition we were the first force in the country to run three Volvo 122 Amazon Estate Traffic Patrol cars.
I worked my way up through the department, dealing with a number of disciplines, Technical, Health and Safety, Finance, User groups etc., eventually as deputy to the then Fleet Manager John Roberts.
On his retirement I took over the reigns as Fleet Manager, responsible for four in house workshops, fifty staff, both technical and administrative, three Police Launches, and a variety of plant and equipment.
Historically the Fleet manager has reported to an Assistant Chief Constable, and only latterly to the Director of Finance.
My first task was to review our systems and procedures, looking at staffing levels, vehicle maintenance costs, vehicle logistical positioning, and vehicle downtime, in addition we looked at our IT strategy with regard to Fleet Management. My key aim was to reduce vehicle maintenance costs, whilst minimising vehicle downtime, and maintain a high quality vehicle repair and maintenance facility.
The result being a marginal reduction in staffing levels, the introduction of a new Tranman Fleet management computer system, which has now been enhanced over a number of years to provide us with an excellent whole life cost, management information system.
Hampshire Constabulary have been seen as operating a pioneering and innovative Vehicle Fleet, regularly mentioned in the motoring press as well as Television and Radio, I believe it is down to the fact that we are keen to explore new systems and processes, new technology, and that fortunately I have a superb team, and backing from my ACPO team as well as the Police Authority. Some of the areas of our business that we have looked at are set out below.
First Police Force in the UK to sign up to the Energy savings Trust POWERSHIFT programme, the aim being to reduce fuel costs, and harmful emissions.
Introduced BMW 325 TDS Patrol cars, to provide a robust high quality vehicle, capable of improving fuel consumption, currently issuing the new BMW 330 TDI Auto Tourers.
Introduced Pit Stop servicing, whereby we try to carry out low level servicing whilst the officer waits, this reduces the need for additional officers to collect their colleague, whilst the vehicle is off the road, it also saves fuel and unnecessary mileage, transporting officers to and throw.
Have outsourced the commissioning of vehicle fit out to the manufacturers, this has freed up Vehicle Technicians time in our own workshops, allowing us to concentrate our efforts on repairing vehicles and getting them back to the frontline as soon as possible, thus reducing downtime.
Working closely with National Association of Police Fleet Managers committee to improve the cost benefit of cumulative purchasing arrangements as set up by the PITO Police Information Technology Organisation, thus reducing the cost to forces nationally of operating their vehicle fleets, this has lead to many millions of pounds savings.
Have won a number of national and international awards for our Fleet Management, Environmental and Vehicle quality assurance controls and management. We produced an in house poster campaign to highlight the need to reduce speed to improve fuel economy, reduce risk and a poster to highlight the cost to the force of incorrect vehicle refuelling.
We are currently evaluating the benefits of operating in car data systems. We had previously evaluated the Lucas Kienzle system some four years ago, however we are currently looking at the potential of the Trafficmaster Fleetstar system, which comprises management information via vehicle telematics, which allows users the opportunity to track a vehicles movements, and replay those movements over a given period/time frame. It enables the option to look at vehicle utilisation, fuel use, in certain cases provides evidence against vehicle accidents, environmentally can monitor engine idling time, and may allow police mangers to obtain a better understanding as to how their divisional vehicle fleet operates. Obviously there is more work to be done in this area, and we are working closely with Fleetstar to address as to how their product could be ameliorated to meet the needs of the modern day police service.
Some of the above initiatives have been discussed and promulgated to other forces as well as private sector company’s .
In 1994 I set up a pilot with Ford Motor Company to evaluate the potential of an advanced Electric car the Ford Ecostar, with information being provided to Ford Motor Company , Electric Car Division, Dearborn Michigan. In 1996 we were the first force in the UK to sign up to the Energy saving Trust POWERSHIFT programme, we started piloting two vehicles, one Ford Transit mail van, and one inner city Vauxhall Astra patrol car. The trial was a great success, with both vehicles performing well and reducing fuel cost by approximately 1.5 pence per mile. Currently we operate 35 LPG patrol vehicles comprising Ford Fiestas and Focus. My view is that there are benefits in operating LPG vehicles, however it is essential that officers ensure they run on the alternative fuel at least 98% of the time, otherwise the cost savings to diminish. That said we are making marginal fuel savings, whilst at the same time reducing harmful emissions. We have shared our experiences both at POWRESHIFT workshops, as well as with Fire services, and other local authorities and district councils.
During 1999/2000 period we reviewed the use of Lightweight Honda CD250 motorcycles for Rural Policing patrols. We looked at the risk of utilising motorcycles in severe weather conditions, we looked the cost benefits of savings in specialist training a swell as protective clothing, helmets, communications equipment. We also looked at the benefits of providing officers with a four wheeled vehicle, in terms of making it their office space, their protection from the elements, and the improved flexibility of being able to use such vehicles for moving other police staff. We have now increased our Beat Cars by over 60 Ford Fiestas, replacing the original 96 lightweight motorcycles.
The current cost to operate the forces 758 vehicles, three marine launches and ancillary plant and equipment amounts to £4.7 million pounds per year, we have just increased our capital budget for the purchase of new vehicles to £1.95 million per year.
After more than 33 years service with the constabulary’s Transport Department, I still retain the same enthusiasm that I did when I walked through the door on my first day. Police Fleet Management is an extremely challenging business, you never know from day to day what is going to crop up next, it can vary from sitting down with vehicle manufacturers or converters to discuss new product, or specification, to organising vehicle supply and logistics to the frontline policing, for example the Millennium, Farnborough Air Show, amongst many other major operations . The job requires good knowledge of the motor industry, particularly product knowledge and technical development, whereby we may be looking at introducing a new range of protected vehicles, including polycarbonates, and protected.”