2,000 incidents for police vehicles

POLICE officers in Suffolk have been involved in more than 2,000 motoring incidents in the last five years, it emerged today.

Josh Warwick

POLICE officers in Suffolk have been involved in more than 2,000 motoring incidents in the last five years, it emerged today.

Figures released following a Freedom of Information request also reveal that annual premiums to insure the constabulary's fleet of vehicles nearly doubled in the same period.

In 2003, police spent £147,119.70 to insure the force's 470 vehicles, but by 2007 that figure had leapt to £287,141.74.

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In all, police recorded 2,043 vehicle-related incidents which involved officers from the force between 2003 and 2007.

These included damage caused to vehicles in accidents, various third party claims, windscreen damage, and criminal damage claims.

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Of those, police said 1,047 were deemed to be the officers' fault.

It has also emerged that two officers lost their licences after being convicted of drink-driving, one in 2005 and another in 2006.

Both were immediately dismissed from the force.

Meanwhile, 57 of the constabulary's 1,345 officers admitted to their employers to having committed a motoring offence between 2005 and 2007.

Today, a police spokesman said the safety of the public was always a priority.

“The force has more than 470 vehicles and every year police officers and staff will travel over seven million miles.

“The nature of policing means there are occasions when vehicles will be damaged. The vast majority of incidents are minor such as damage to a windscreen or even criminal damage to a car.

“However, we would like to reassure people in Suffolk that the safety of the public is our priority at all times. Any officers involved in emergency response or pursuit situations are highly trained in full accordance with national police driver training guidelines.

“The utmost is done to minimise any risk. For instance, the police helicopter may be used to assist in bringing a pursuit to a safe conclusion.

“Officers are very aware that they must not take unnecessary risks, both for their own safety and that of the public.”

The spokesman said all road collisions involving police vehicles were taken “extremely seriously” and were always fully investigated.

What do you make of the figures? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Annual cost of insuring the police's fleet of vehicles

2003 - £147,119.70

2004 - £249,417.00

2005 - £238,922.97

2006 - £260,123.06

2007 - £287,141.74

Accidents involving Suffolk Constabulary vehicles

2003 - 411

2004 - 422

2005 - 375

2006 - 412

2007 - 423

Accidents involving Suffolk Constabulary vehicles where officers were at fault

2003 - 234

2004 - 223

2005 - 187

2006 - 199

2007 - 204

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