While we are sure that you’ll never need one, take a peek into a VW Police van

The ‘blue light’ market is a prized one to those vehicle manufacturers winning a supply chain service through the UK’s Home Office, writes Iain Robertson, which makes this new van a truly special opportunity for Volkswagen Commercials.

The light van side of Volkswagen’s UK business has revealed a new prisoner transport van for police forces based on its popular Transporter model. It features a full width rear prison cell that meets the government’s strict specifications, with not-particularly-comfortable space for two prisoners, although it is designed to ensure their safe transport between locations. Behind a full-height and width bulkhead that provides additional security to the driver’s cab, the rear also features seating for an officer to accompany prisoners on journeys and a double latch security system that prevents the rear doors from being opened from the inside.

The cell van, as it is known, has also undergone a complete ‘blue light’ conversion that includes the fitting of LED lights, a 100-watt siren and full, reflective police livery. Carried out by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ Approved Blue Light Converter, Safeguard SVP in Essex, the conversion uses the Volkswagen Transporter in Trendline trim as its base vehicle. Beneath the bonnet is a 2.0-litre, 147bhp turbo-diesel engine, which delivers the commensurate balance of performance and fuel economy.

Steven Cowell, Technical Sales Manager at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, stated: “This has been a landmark year for our blue light conversions, with the cell van rounding out a trio of new products that we have brought to market. This vehicle offers police forces and private security firms a practical, reliable and economical solution to prisoner transport and we expect it to be a big hit around the various regional police offices, when it joins our fleet.

Public sector fleets, like police forces, or ambulance services, often require specialist conversions. VW Commercials offers a range of conversions to the Crown Commercial Service for different operational purposes, through its expert in-house conversion team, which works alongside its Approved Blue Light Converters. Already this year, the brand has unveiled a Crafter riot van (shown for the first time at the CV Show in April), which includes a single prisoner cell, plus the Caddy dog van, with a bespoke kennel on-board.

The Volkswagen Transporter cell van is now on the brand’s blue light demo fleet for police forces to trial, having debuted at the NAPFM Emergency Fleet Exhibition only recently. Meeting the often exacting parameters outlined by HM Government can be a lengthy process. While acquisition also demands very keen pricing, the Home Office dictates ‘best value’ terms, which ensures that the least expensive products do not always win contracts, even though they must be competitively priced. Total life costs are an important consideration that VW has been able to address with confidence.

MSG Summary

While the sturdy ‘cage’ is produced from welded steel and there are zero concessions towards occupant comfort, it is comforting to know that ‘bad’ people can be moved securely around the countryside.

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