28 January 2021
Kent Police and Essex Police represent two of the oldest police forces in the UK, covering a combined territory of over 2,800 square miles and serving a population of around 3.5 million people.
Amongst their various collective assets is a fleet of vehicles numbering close to 1,600.
Allstar Business Solutions had already been supporting Kent Police and Essex Police for a number of years. Our fuel card solution synchronised well with their needs and our breadth of coverage meant officers were never far from a fuel station they could use.
With officers needing to cover such vast territory, much of it networked via long country roads, fuel stands as one of the biggest expenses the force must account for. The objective was clear; fuel costs had to be driven down.
To begin with, the forces needed a solution where they could easily know the locations of fuel sites offering discounted prices and driver education was required to help them easily find these. Ultimately, they needed this process to become normalised practice.
For Kent Police and Essex Police to realise the goal of reducing fuel costs and standardising a different way for officers to approach refuelling, three considerations had to be addressed:
The very nature of police work means officers could be required at any location within their designated territory, at any time. Some types of fuel cards can only be used at a select number of sites are therefore of limited use. Also, officers not only need to know when they are close to a site but whether the Pollution Prevention Guideline (PPG) at that site complies with savings objectives.
Needing to always be alert, officers don’t always have the time to be pulling over to find selected refuelling stations they can use when the need arises. Ideally, the forces needed a solution with a wide network coverage so they could punch in their location and find their nearest refuelling site simply and easily.
3. Insights and Data
As important as driving down costs were, the forces needed to ensure they met commitments to reduce carbon emission output. As it stood, they were seeking reassurance around regulating the environmental impact of their activity, a capability that has become increasingly important as forces across the UK strive to become more sustainable.
With these specific challenges, Kent Police and Essex Police needed an all-encompassing payment solution that could reduce costs, provide extensive fleet management information, and be flexible to suit the forces’ evolving needs.
It was already clear that Kent Police and Essex Police and Allstar Business Solutions represented the model partnership. Allstar brought its vast experience in fuel management and payment ecosystems and offered the Allstar One fuel card as the solution that would best suit the forces’ unique needs.
Crucially for Kent Police and Essex Police, the Allstar One card boasts the UK's largest fuel card network, covering 90% of the UK - including all major oil brands and supermarket forecourts - thereby minimising the need for officers to deviate off route to refuel.
Essential as this is for maximising law enforcement capability, the issue for the forces was costs. Initially, Allstar helped the forces identify two suppliers as being the fuel companies with the highest prices and its fuel card data also revealed that 60% of refuelling was happening with one supplier. Using this information, Allstar helped the forces educate its drivers towards cheaper alternatives and within six months, the practice of officers diverting to alternative, cheaper sites, such as supermarket brands, was embedded.
Then Covid hit. The supplier made the generous offer of providing free fuel for emergency services from April to July at the height of the pandemic. Due to Allstar’s wide network coverage, drivers were able to easily refuel at these sites and were able to save significant financial resource at a time of unprecedented crisis.
“From the very beginning, Allstar have delivered exceptional functionality through the Allstar One fuel card, as well as their overall account management. The cost savings we’ve achieved with their help have been transformational, but it’s the added benefits that have made such a difference too. We’ve improved control and visibility of spending, have access to powerful fleet data, and receive crucial information on carbon emissions and ways to limit output.Having a dedicated business account manager has been a real plus too. We always get a response within 24 hours and have yet to been told we can’t do something.”
“The needs of a police force covering large areas and the nature of our work is unique but Allstar have always made the effort to understand them and actively help us overcome challenges when they present themselves. They don't try and impose their requirements, their policies, or their processes, it's all about supporting the forces. It’s refreshing to say the least.”
Tony Petts, Transport Services Fleet Manager, Kent Police and Essex Police Transport Services
By the end of the last financial year, since Kent Police and Essex Police had advanced their relationship with Allstar, they had saved a remarkable £100,000. Now more adept at maximising opportunities to save, the target is now to bank £270,000 per annum. This provides the opportunity to further invest in frontline operational delivery, including several new officers for the force.
The force also gained access to enhanced management information, giving them increased visibility on spending while enabling deeper reporting on factors such as fleet status and insights on carbon emissions. Furthermore, this reporting can be adjusted to filter through only the information that Kent Police and Essex Police needs and can be altered at any time as the forces evolve and adjust its needs.
Going forwards, and in line with government’s new deadline of 2030 on the banning of fossil fuel cars, Kent Police and Essex Police plan to work with Allstar to help with the electrification of its fleet.
There are challenges ahead, but this is a partnership that thrives on meeting them head on.
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