It was one of those rare occasions when all the stars appeared in alignment.
Three years have passed since I made a commitment in my Police and Crime Plan that the Constabulary would operate in as responsible and sustainable a way as possible to preserve Gloucestershire as ‘A green and pleasant county’.
To refresh that commitment, I chose the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge, one of Gloucestershire’s most celebrated conservation sites. As the sun beat down on one of the hottest days of the year, was Mother Nature bestowing her approval on that pledge or was she simply reminding us all of our responsibility towards the environment?
Whichever is the answer, I am proud to say we are ‘doing our bit’.
Electrification of the police fleet is well underway and for as long as I am Police and Crime Commissioner, will continue where operationally viable. The Constabulary operates over 400 vehicles, almost 20% of which are now powered by electricity with the target of 40% in five years or less. Emissions will be an increasing element in the decision making process alongside cost and performance when vehicles are purchased.
Furthermore, the Constabulary is the only force in the country to hold the environmental certification ISO 14001, the international standard for environment management systems. Presented by Lloyds Register, it acknowledges the Constabulary’s success in measuring energy consumption and reducing waste.
When we’re consumed by the stresses and strains of everyday life, it’s easy to miss the bigger picture – and there can be none bigger than safeguarding the planet. So I was delighted to be joined by representatives from many local partners who share the aspirations of ‘A green and pleasant county’ and are keen to incorporate elements in their business plans.
Nothing is going to change unless we change some of our bad habits. Electric cars are a great example of something that 10 years ago no-one was talking about in a business context. Electric police vehicles aside, Lloyds Register’s Environmental Systems Assessor Debbie Shaw was encouraged to find construction sites with mobile plant that’s now electric.
There is no legal requirement on the Constabulary to become more green, it’s just a good thing to do.
You can read my commitment to ‘A green and pleasant county’ in full here.