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Responding to emergency incidents is the norm for police officers - the blues and twos go on and they leap into action.
But what of the team behind the police vehicle fleet – the ones who keep the cars, vans and motorbikes vital to any emergency response, on the road?
It’s certainly no easy task given the size of the fleet which runs into hundreds and the importance of keeping it up and running 24/7 and in tip top condition so that it meets the highest of standards.
So just who makes up this team known as the Transport Unit?
For a start there are a number of vehicle technicians – the ones whose job it is to assess the problem or damage and carry out the actual repair. There’s also managerial and administrative support staff who keep the cogs turning and help to prioritise, as is necessary in any job of this sort. The unit itself is based at police headquarters in Enderby.
The Transport Unit work to ensure the force's vehicle fleet is in full working order
The vehicles are extremely important to policing an area which not only covers the city, but communities across the rest of the county from north to south, East to West and as far afield as Rutland. The unit may also, from time to time, be called upon to provide services and repairs to outside forces.
So just what vehicles are we talking about and how much can we tell you?
There are several different makes and models driven by officers but the majority are made up of the nippy Vauxhall Astra with some extremely high powered BMWs thrown in. Top speeds can reach up to 170mph depending on the make and model. Not surprising then that those behind the wheel are specifically trained to handle fast cars and extreme situations.
“There’s always a pressure to get things done as soon as possible,” said Marc Swingler, workshop controller for the unit.
The team work on a range of police vehicles including cars, vans and motorbikes
“But then this isn’t like any ordinary garage where you can book things in weeks in advance. The turn-around has to be quick but we try to rise to that challenge daily to support our vehicle users. We know how important these vehicles are. They’re in constant use day and night because the force operates 24/7 and officers are responding to all sorts of emergencies as well as conducting daily business.
“We’re a crucial support service to frontline officers and we’re extremely proud to do this job every day. I speak for all my staff when I say we really enjoy our job and the part we play in the Leicestershire Police family.”
Of course these aren’t just ordinary Vauxhall Astras and BMWs. Most are equipped with blue light systems, video and voice recording equipment, as well as tracking systems, first aid and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) officers may need in the line of duty.
Marc said: “For operational reasons we can’t reveal everything the force uses but the vehicles and the equipment all have to be accounted for and of course, kept in good working order. There’s no way we can send a car out if it isn’t all working as it should and only half the equipment needed is in it.
“Policing is like no other job out there and we’re no exception really, but it’s hugely rewarding to be here doing a vital job. The team at the Transport Unit put in an outstanding effort and make me proud every day. We go above and beyond but we do that because we love it.”
Leicestershire Police is currently recruiting. For more information and to apply visit the website.