Arresting image update to save police force $800,000

By Elizabeth Binning

The country's police cars are getting a makeover which will standardise the look of the fleet - and save up to $800,000 in fuel costs each year, police say.

The main features of the makeover include a more consistent look to the livery - the stickers and patterning on the cars - and an LED lightbar which is flatter and brighter than the current rotating lights.

The changes will see a phasing out of the orange and blue which currently differentiates traffic vehicles from frontline and general duties cars.

The pattern will also be thinner, no longer taking up the entire length of the doors.

The thinner pattern will save about $100 per car.

National Manager Procurement Stan Pope said the lightbars cost about the same as the current lights to install, but once on the vehicles the savings were considerable.

Initial tests, which have been carried out in windtunnels, indicate that there is an 8-10 per cent reduction on the drag on cars with LED lights.

Less drag means less fuel consumption and based on current estimates - in which 10.3 million litres of fuel is used by police each year - that could result in an annual saving of about $800,000.

While some of the new-look police cars have already been rolled out, Mr Pope said it would take six years for the process to be complete.

That was because it was too expensive to refit the current fleet, so the changes would only appear on new cars coming into the fleet.

Around 350 are expected to be introduced this year. By 2014 all marked police vehicles - from dog units to booze buses - should have the yellow and blue livery and LED lights.

Mr Pope said changes to the livery were based, in part, on studies that found stickers covering the entire doors were no more effective than partial markings, especially in busy and cluttered urban environments.

The single look would also make things easier operationally as the cars could be used for all duties, regardless of whether they were traffic or general duty vehicles.

Changes to the look of emergency service vehicles are also underway at the Fire Service.

Over the next year-and-a-half new-look fire engines are being rolled out across the country.

While many of the changes will only be noticeable to firefighters, the most obvious difference the public will see is the addition of the colour blue to red and fluorescent yellow appliances.

The blue appears to have no safety or security value but spokesman Scott Sargentina said it more accurately reflects the organisation's colours.

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