We all know the environmental and energy benefits of transitioning to electric vehicles, but have you considered the upside for law enforcement?
No, you probably haven’t. But that’s OK. Neither had I. Until I was pointed towards a tweet from the Gloucestershire Constabulary’s Rural Crime Team:
Last week, 5 nights of anti poaching ops. Unmarked electric cars patrolling and listening for gunshots, utilising their quiet running. Officers waiting in the woods with night vision, thermal spotters & thermal drone. No one seen but the bar is set high for any future poachers. pic.twitter.com/RxYGnE5MUO
— Rural Crime Team – Gloucestershire Constabulary (@GlosPol_Rural) April 27, 2020
According to the region’s Rural Crime Team, a 5-night anti-poaching operation towards the end of April utilised the police department’s new unmarked electric vehicles so as to sneak around the countryside, listening for poaching gunshots thanks to the quiet running of the EVs.
The anti-poaching operation followed a string of poaching incidents which left local deer shot in the jaw, or in the neck, but left alive. According to police reports, the “appalling acts of cruelty” left the four-legged victims around Sapperton, in the Cotswolds, west of Cirencester and in Calmsden, north of Cirencester.
The Gloucestershire Constabulary probably had not considered the tactical application of EVs, either, when they took delivery of 75 new electric vehicles from Nissan earlier this year.
A total of 66 Nissan LEAFs – of which 11 are marked police vehicles – and 9 e-NV200s were delivered in late February, bringing the Constabulary’s fleet of vehicles up to 21% zero-emissions, helping to reduce its CO2 emissions by 190 tonnes a year.
“The purchase of these new vehicles is a huge step forward for the Constabulary to reduce its carbon and pollution, and meets part of my commitment to ‘A Green and Pleasant County’ that was outlined in my Police and Crime Plan,” said Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl.
“It’s a journey we’ve been on for five years and is part of a long-term commitment by my office to ensure our environment is considered at every opportunity.
“The new fleet will save a considerable amount of CO₂ and money, giving Gloucestershire a larger percentage of fully-electric vehicles in its fleet than any other force. I hope the constabulary will be able to build on this great work, and extend its electric fleet to 40 per cent within the next four years.”
At the time, the Gloucestershire Constabulary saw the major benefits from the influx of EVs as saving money and emissions, while also reducing vehicle maintenance downtime due to the fact the EVs require less servicing than combustion-engine vehicles.
“In our history of the Nissan LEAFs, on the 16-plates, we’ve only changed one set of brake pads. Because of the regenerative braking you don’t use brake pads or brake discs as much,” said Head of Transport Services for Gloucestershire Constabulary Steve Imm, referring to the Constabulary’s previous experience with EVs over the past four years.
“We’re cutting down huge amounts of labour time and off-the-road time, which improves our internal efficiency and means the police force has the vehicles on the road more.”
In addition to the use of quiet-running electric vehicles, the Gloucestershire Constabulary is also using drones to help tackle poaching across the countryside. Equipped with night vision and high-zoom capabilities during the day, the drones are operated by at least twelve local officers who trained to pilot the drones and are now accredited by the Civil Aviation Authority.
Chalk the Gloucestershire Constabulary up for extra environmental points.