Police spent £53K per month on cars

Dorset Police spent more than £53,000 per month on their fleet of vehicles last year, reports the Dorset Echo.

Figures obtained show that between January 1, 2014 and January 1, 2015, Dorset Police spent a total of £636,254 on vehicles.

This equates to £53,021 every month to keep police cars on the road. Throughout the year, three police vehicles were written off following crashes.

The figures also reveal that 11 police officers were injured on duty in road traffic collisions, although it is understood none of these were seriously injured.

Police claimed on their insurance 103 times following collisions. The money was spent on all of the force’s cars, from general squad cars, police vans and unmarked police cars.

The force stressed that the money was spent on all types of vehicle maintenance and repair during the year.

Although Dorset Police could not give specific examples of how the money was spent, a spokesman for the force said it would have been for all forms of car maintenance, ranging from flat tyres and engine problems, to little bumps the cars would be in, to major repairs following damage caused by when the force’s cars are required to stop a car during a car chase.

Paul Dunford, Dorset Police Head of Transport Services, said the force was ‘competitive’ when it came to keeping cars on the road and aims to keep costs low.

Mr Dunford said, ‘Dorset Police constantly strives to keep costs down and always has.’

‘Decisions around whether a car is written off are taken through the Force Transport Department with the assistance of our contracted body shops which have been appointed through competitive tender.’

‘Factors to consider are mileage and the costs to convert such a vehicle for police use.’

‘We also do not stop at the body shop quote but we send the quote off to a company who specialises in keeping damaged police vehicles from across the UK for recycling purposes for all non-safety related parts, for example a bonnet or a door.’

‘We also sell this company our written off vehicles so they could be utilised in this manner for other police fleets, should there be no requirement by ourselves for the salvageable parts.’

Mr Dunford also said that the cause of the damages was not always the police’s fault.

He continued, ‘Repair costs for our fleet also include non-accidental incidents where police vehicles are intentionally damaged by other road users, for example a car reversing into a police vehicle to attempt to deliberately disable it or a detained person intent on causing as much damage as possible.’

‘We currently buy our beat response vehicles through a tender process involving other forces in the south west of England to increase our buying power.’

‘The consideration at this point is the vehicle’s whole life cost including everything from fuel consumption, maintenance and warranty to a sample of fast moving parts.’

‘All parts fitted to a vehicle during its life are subject to arranged discounts and we also arrange discounts with after-market suppliers on a regional level to make use of greater buying power.’

‘Dorset is competitive with all other forces when it comes to vehicle technicians to car ratios.’