HAMPSHIRE Constabulary is to go green in a bid to save millions of pounds.

The force has been given the green light to transform its general fleet of cars from petrol engines to electric.

Being the first non-metropolitan police force in the country to make the groundbreaking change, they said the move will result in an initial £450,000 saving over three years.

The force has started by introducing 40 new electric cars into the general fleet, which is made up of pool cars and cars used by investigation teams.

But said that at this time the case has not been made for replacing response cars.

Inspector Andy Tester, who developed the plan, said: “It quickly became clear that stepping up a gear when it came to electric cars made perfect sense, both financially and environmentally. We are spending public money so it is vitally important that forces find pioneering new ways to transform the way things are done. There is a perception that electric cars are expensive but we have done the sums and the savings for the first three years is £450,000."

Electric cars will cost £1 to run per day to fuel compared with £3.50 per day for current cars. The projected saving in emissions is 64,000kg of CO2 a year.

Inspector Tester said: "That type of saving, when every force across the country is looking to cut costs, is almost impossible to argue against, especially when you look at the environmental benefits too."

The news was welcomed by chief constable Olivia Pinkney.

She said: “We are proud to be in the driving seat of innovation. These cars save public money, are proving popular with our teams and are kinder to the environment. This ticks all the boxes and we are excited to see whether others forces can benefit too.”

The force said that CID and pool cars require no modifications beyond the fitting of a police radio and tracking systems, requiring minimal expense.

They also said that a small proportion of the initial £450,000 saving will fund the upfront cost of having to install more charging points at Southampton, Basingstoke and Portsmouth stations, but once in place, these will have a lifespan well in excess of 10 years.

The Advertiser has asked Hampshire Constabulary how much the scheme costs but the force said the purchase price is commercially sensitive.