In 2015, the Antwerp Police area, under the guidance of PROCentrum and its partner PIVO, took the first cautious steps in the process of changing the driver training for the first responder. So, four years later the evaluation report that has been produced can certainly be called groundbreaking and to which the intensive PROCentrum, instructor training program in the Netherlands, has contributed significantly.
Training vision- “Instructor for first responder”.
The foundations were laid in 2014 when PROCentrum was asked by the Antwerp Police Force leadership, to advise on a long-term policy vision with regard to the training and further development of training for employees entrusted with driving on blue lights. This question resulted in a customised training plan based on four pillars:
- Improve risk perception and change of mentality amongst drivers of service vehicles
- Damage prevention, reducing damage to service vehicles and financial implications.
- Cost reduction, the reduction of operating and maintenance costs on service vehicles
- Image enhancement for the Police Force.
PROCentrum also stated in the presentation of its plan, that it should be possible to provide zero training costs for participants on the First Responsder Driving Course. At the time described by many as a very ambitious statement, PROCentrum was convinced of the quality of the training programs and in particular the Instructor Training course. The plan was ambitious, but also realistic. The project management in Antwerp stated the following in their evaluation: “… A moment in which Antwerp can demonstrate that it has not generated any additional costs than is currently the case, but in which a capital shift has occurred in the direction of our capital, our staff. … ”
This clear training vision by PROCentrum / PIVO, in combination with a concrete training plan, convinced the Antwerp Police area, and resulted in the award of the assignment to PROCentrum, the customised Emergency First responder driving courses (PRIBA) for Antwerp Police.After an extensive pre-selection, 35 police officers were admitted to the “First Responder Instructor” course (OGS instructor). After an intensive training schedule of 13 weeks, 11 employees eventually obtained the coveted certificate. In order to receive such a certificate, it must be noted that it’s earned and not a given qualification. One of the students stated this during the official presentation at the PIVO, where he aptly described how much time, effort and energy the students had put into this course.
Back in 2015, Police in Antwerp, did not have any additional Driver Training courses for new incoming Police personnel. Drivers of Police vehicles only had to be in possession of a regular driving license, valid for the category of vehicles that was driven. The fact that Police Officers regularly have to perform their duties under aggravating circumstances resulted, not surprisingly, in an increased number of vehicle damage with or without injury. At the request of PROCentrum / PIVO, recording the number of accidents and damage at the start of the project was initiated. The purpose of this was to establish whether the training of employees would have an impact on the damage assessment.The evaluation report that was recently presented, after four years of training, gives a very clear answer to this. Training, that has been conducted by skilled teachers and a course reflecting on the needs of the client works.
There has been a significant decrease in the number of accidents and claims. In addition, the project management notes, “a change in mentality that cannot be underestimated among its management. That now, our drivers now know clearly what the standards are and now tranforms into safe and competant driving behavior with a view for exemplary operational practice ”
The evaluation is limited to the most measurable facts, namely the damage and accident figures. In addition, a number of unexpected benefits have been noticed, such as reduced fuel consumption, less tyre wear, lower maintenance costs and a fleet that is generally in better condition.
After four years of training:
- The number of accident free kilometers increased from 22,090 to 156,430; an increase of 608%.
- The number of claim free kilometers increased from 11,270 to 19,533; an increase of 73 ½%
- The number of claims due to costs fell from 42% to 7%
Insurance for the Police is increasingly becoming a major issue and cost’s for policies are significantly rising. Since the above numbers have been published, it has not gone unnoticed by insurers. A large Belgian insurance company wants to encourage other Police areas to participate in the PROCentrum / PIVO training program by offering serious discounts when participating in the training program.
Any government affiliated organisations that want to know more about the bespoke process that PROCentrum / PIVO has gone through, together with the Antwerp Police area can contact our office in Best. On request we are happy to provide you with the ‘Final report on services and results after 4 years of driving training within the Emergency Assistance Department’.