The National Police Wellbeing Service is adding another six Mercedes-Benz vans to the fleet it relies upon to support police officers and staff throughout England and Wales. For those based at outlying stations in particular, these vehicles can provide a vital lifeline.
The Service runs a fleet of 10 Sprinters, all of which were supplied by Dealer Ciceley Commercials. Known as Outreach Vans, they are the visible face of ‘Oscar Kilo’ (OK in the phonetic alphabet), the brand for the National Police Wellbeing Service.
Based at the headquarters of Lancashire Constabulary, near Preston, the vans have also supported the Police Service of Northern Ireland; Scotland has its own devolved arrangements.
The latest additions to the line-up are all 5.0-tonne Sprinter 516 CDI models with long L3 bodies and high H2 roofs. Their advanced 2.1-litre engines deliver punchy 163hp performance but are also impressively fuel-efficient.
The National Police Wellbeing Service’s Fleet Co-ordinator Colin Lewis explained: “Our bespoke Sprinters offer a private space in which colleagues can sit down with occupational health staff, financial advisors or chaplains, as well as representatives of the Police Federation and other trade unions, and staff support networks.
“The vans can be deployed to operating bases wherever they’re needed. To officers based at remote police stations, sometimes far from their force headquarters, they can be a real lifeline.”
Each vehicle’s cargo area is divided to create two consultation rooms, the smaller of which allows full privacy, so personal or sensitive issues can be discussed in complete confidence. Seating, storage and a fridge are fitted, and a large gazebo carried – this can be erected at the side entrance, to provide more room for support specialists to meet those they seek to help.
Nine of the 10 Sprinters are dedicated to this role, and are typically sent to police stations for anything up to two weeks at a time. The remaining vehicle – designated Oscar Kilo 1 – is intended for deployment at major incidents. It will provide a ‘safe haven’ for officers to take breaks, refreshments or have a few moments of reflection during very difficult periods.
The vans are maintained in Lancashire Constabulary’s workshop, alongside the force’s own fleet of more than 30 Sprinters. These include protected carriers with ‘unbreakable’ windscreens which are designed to carry officers responsible for maintaining public order.
Colin Lewis continued: “The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is the mainstay of our fleet. Its combination of reliability, safety and comfort for long journeys, together with its general ease of use and fitness-for-purpose, made it the obvious choice for Oscar Kilo.
“We conduct a de-brief with our operational staff after every deployment and the feedback on the vans and their performance is always positive. They play an important role in ensuring that we’re able to provide a crucial service to our colleagues on the front line across the country.”
Like all new Mercedes-Benz vans sold through the manufacturer’s official Dealer network, the Sprinters are backed by three-year, unlimited mileage warranties and come with MobiloVan cover, which includes free, round-the-clock emergency roadside assistance.
The third-generation Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a technological tour-de-force, thanks to its reassuring armoury of active safety features and 4G Internet connectivity. Standard equipment includes the autonomous Active Brake Assist system with pedestrian recognition technology, and Attention Assist, which detects drowsiness in the driver and encourages them to take breaks when tired.
Sprinter drivers also benefit from the cutting-edge Mercedes MBUX infotainment system, which features a user-friendly voice control function when specified with optional Navigation, while Mercedes PRO connect provides operators with a range of fast, efficient and cost-effective vehicle management service packages.