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Hampshire Police are going to be the first force in the country to try out using electric squad cars.
Hampshire Constabulary's transport department is taking a leading role in supporting environmentally-friendly vehicles after trialling the use of the electric-powered Nissan.
Officers in Portsmouth were given a taste of the technology in June after the force was granted the use of a Nissan LEAF for a five-day period. Using electricity sourced from the mains system, the vehicles are charged overnight at an approximate cost of
93 pence. This allows the car to travel in the region of 113 miles before it needs to be recharged.
As a result, the trial period in the force's Eastern Area gave the constabulary an opportunity to test the vehicles in a city environment, where mileage is not as high, with officers receiving the appropriate training in order to drive the car.
John Bradley, the force's transport manager, was able to use his contacts at Nissan to secure the trial period at no cost to the force.
Mr Bradley said:
"For years, Hampshire Constabulary has been closely monitoring the latest vehicle technology in order to reduce the force's impact on the environment.
"Now we are part of the process of evaluating that technology by trialling an electric vehicle.
"I am really excited by the Nissan LEAF as it is a car that has been developed from the ground up to be a fully-engineered electric car and, in the long term, electric vehicles could have a great impact on the force in terms of our carbon footprint and the money saved through reduced fuel costs."
Eastern Area commander Nigel Hindle said:
"The police service travels many thousands of miles each day. It is incumbent on us to make sure that we have the most efficient vehicles in use by officers and staff, in terms of low cost and sustainability. This vehicle has been used by operational officers in Cosham, who have found it to be ideal for their emergency response and general duties role within a city environment."
Nissan's fleet sales director Barry Beeston commented:
"We were delighted to support Hampshire Constabulary with the loan of a Nissan LEAF. The environmental and financial benefits of electric vehicles make the Nissan LEAF the ideal vehicle for a city centre police force."
Sarah Thorpe, the force's energy management officer, said:
"It is fantastic to have the force's transport department playing a key role in the constabulary's ongoing drive to be as energy-efficient as possible when protecting our communities from crime and harm."