TOYOTAS GET THE BLUE LIGHT IN DERBYSHIRE
Derbyshire Police has boosted its fleet of Toyota RAV4 response vehicles used for rural duties in the Peak District – and on the strength of its positive experiences with Toyota, it is now evaluating Land Cruiser for motorway patrol work and Corolla as a general response vehicle.
Four more RAV4 GX five-doors have joined the two already on the Derbyshire force, as the existing cars come up for their two-year replacement. “We’ve found the RAV4 exceptionally reliable, and all the drivers have been extremely pleased with their performance and driveability,” says Fleet Manager Terry Hitchcock, who is responsible for the force’s 350 vehicles. “Fuel returns and overall cost per mile have proven exceptionally competitive.”
With their off-road capability and good ground clearance, the RAV4s have proved ideal for use in rural areas. The 4x4s are purchased through Toyota Fleet, liveried and equipped with auxiliary lighting and sirens. Maintenance is carried out by Derbyshire County Council.
Meanwhile two Toyota Land Cruiser Colorado VXs are being tried out in Derbyshire Police’s northern road traffic area, alongside its existing Land Rover Discoverys. “We bought two Colorados based on our experience of the reliability of the RAV4s,” says Terry Hitchcock. “It’s too early to comment on cost per mile but we’ve been very pleased with the vehicles so far. The feedback from drivers has again been very positive,” says Terry.
“Our next replacement vehicles are due next April and by then we’ll have the figures on which to decide whether to order more. So far we’ve seen nothing that would put us off doing so.”
Apart from full ‘Battenburg’ livery, lighting and sirens, the V6 powered Land Cruisers have been equipped with heavy-duty bulkheads to keep the occupants safe from police equipment carried in the back. Much of their work is involved with motorway patrols and accident response.
Terry Hitchcock is also set to try out a Toyota Corolla 1.3S five-door liftback, which he will run alongside Vauxhall Astra response cars on the fleet.
“One of the main things we need is good aftersales support, and Toyota’s service so far has been very good,” he says. “However, all the vehicles we’ve had have been extremely reliable, so we’ve hardly needed to call on them!”