Traka help Forces to manage, protect and audit the use of expensive and/or controlled portable equipment
Hertfordshire Constabulary has been operating Traka systems for over three years. After initial trials at a single location, Traka key cabinets are now installed county-wide and provide administrative control of Hertfordshire’s entire fleet of 650 vehicles at both a local and central level.
Traka has developed intelligent access management solutions for many other UK Police Forces. In addition to fleet management, our systems can help Forces to manage, protect and audit the use of expensive and/or controlled portable equipment such as airwave radios, laptops, breathalyser kits, weaponry and other valuable items.
In recent times the use of cars and other vehicles – including motorbikes, minibuses, vans and specialist transport – to support everyday policing has increased significantly. Not surprisingly, police fleets throughout the country have grown, too.
Exactly how many vehicles are in use across the UK’s 52 Forces, at any one time, is hard to say. But according to Sam Sloan, Fleet Manager for Hertfordshire Constabulary, there are around 35,000 police vehicles nationally, Hertfordshire has a total fleet of 650 vehicles.
“With a fleet this size, it’s really important that we manage our costs effectively and Traka helps us to keep tabs on our vehicles.”
So why did the Hertfordshire Force choose Traka?
‘“The system did what was required and the support from Traka was excellent. At Hertfordshire, we needed a system that would enable us to:
- Control who could access the keys to particular vehicles – and when
- Record and report on mileage driven during the period keys were out
- Capture data on any reported defects or damage, centrally – to enable appropriate decisions to be made and timely actions to be taken.”
Our supervisors need to know how and when vehicles are being used
“Before Traka we had no easy way of knowing when our cars were in use. We knew how many miles they were doing, but that wasn’t enough.
I could calculate that a group of cars were averaging say, 50 miles a day, but I didn’t know when they were being used: whether they were all out at the same time – or whether usage was staggered over the day, and if so, whether there were any overlaps.
Traka enables us to report on vehicle usage in a number of ways and due to our central server approach I can pull off any live or historic report as and when required by vehicle, station, BCU, total fleet etc., from my desktop computer.
The Traka System also aids operational planning as vehicles can be reserved for specific operations or, for example, journeys by administrators, locally or centrally. Once reserved on Traka, nobody but the designated driver can take them out”.
It’s all about management control
“Traka gives us the ability to decide which vehicles individual officers can and can’t drive. Basically, within Policing, there are three grades of driver.
At the lowest level, officers are permitted to drive smaller cars but not use them as response vehicles – they can’t put on warning lights or use the siren.
Then we have response drivers who can respond to an emergency – typically, in an Astra, complete with blue lights and siren.
And finally, there are the advanced drivers who use the high speed vehicles frequently seen on motorways.
From a duty of care perspective it is useful to have control. We need to be able to ensure that officers can’t take out a vehicle they are not authorised to drive or on which they have not received proper training.”
Monitoring mileage – ‘the big one’ from a fleet perspective
“Having up-to-date mileage information is important as it gives an indication as to whether a vehicle was used on a certain day, or the keys were removed by an officer on a ‘just in-case I need a car’ basis. We needed a system that could identify how long cars have been out – and whether they have been driven 50 - 60 miles, or just five.
To plan workshop allocation and monitor vehicle servicing schedules, effectively, the fleet department needs accurate mileage data. This is a real issue. And Traka addresses it by ensuring that when vehicle keys are returned officers have to record their final mileage. And, as all transactions are recorded on the data base, if an officer fails to record a correct mileage, he or she can be identified and brought to task.”
Simplifying processes and cutting down time.
“In the past, we had no way to map the hours vehicles were used, without literally spending weeks looking through up to 650 individual log books.
Now, with Traka, the information we need is available at the touch of a button – and the job’s done in minutes. Obviously this information could be provided by vehicle tracking systems but the cost to provide it over a large fleet becomes prohibitive.”
Sharing information – reducing administrative effort
“It’s not only Fleet Management who win with Traka – the benefits are shared across the Force.
Hertfordshire’s system is managed locally from within the three Basic Command Units and their supporting departments. The Traka key cabinets are all linked to our central servers, so access can be granted to anyone who needs it.
Access has already been given to a number of back office support units including the Safety Camera Unit – this has reduced administration time and must have resulted in significant cost savings.”
Meeting our Health & Safety obligations
“Monitoring vehicle defects helps us to meet our duty of care. Officers need to feel confident that any vehicle they’re about to use is in good working order. To take a car at the start of a shift and find later, for example, that the wipers aren’t working, or a light is faulty, is totally unacceptable.
If a critical defect is identified by a driver, he can flag it on the system by entering the appropriate code (depending on the defect class). The key is then locked in the cabinet and logged as VOR, (Vehicle Off Road). From this point, only an authorised person can remove the vehicle’s key from the Traka System, and the subsequent repair process can be tracked through our workshop.”
Increasing personal accountability
“All too often, in the past, when a vehicle was damaged slightly, the driver could just walk away and leave it. No-one could easily trace how, where, or when the damage was done – or who by. Now, responsibility falls fairly and squarely with the driver – and all our drivers know there’s nowhere to hide.”
Traka’s greatest plus is it’s ability to help us control our costs
“Our costs are subject to continuous scrutiny, so with everincreasing pressure on availability, it’s really important that we look closely at just how our vehicles are used, to see where we can make savings and ensure that any new expenditure is justifiable.
Traka has enabled us to get a county-wide picture of fleet activity and highlight where we have a mismatch between requirements and availability.
With a fleet of 650 vehicles it should be possible to highlight a number that can be redeployed, or removed from the fleet. This, potentially, could help us reduce our costs significantly.”