Police car washes to act as deterrent

GARAGES have offered free washes for police cars – in return for the vehicles' presence deterring criminals.Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill and Mildenhall are among the towns where garage owners have already rolled up their sleeves and said they would enter into a partnership with Suffolk police.

GARAGES have offered free washes for police cars – in return for the vehicles' presence deterring criminals.

Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill and Mildenhall are among the towns where garage owners have already rolled up their sleeves and said they would enter into a partnership with Suffolk police.

The rest of Suffolk could follow suit because having a police car on the forecourt works as a form of high-visibility policing.

The news comes after the Evening Star revealed in October that car washing costs the police £38,000, and 1,700 man hours - the equivalent of one police officer spending all their time scrubbing away car grime instead of fighting crime.

Police authority bosses have pledged to look into better ways of keeping their fleet shipshape.

Director of support services Gerry Leader said of the partnership deals: "We think this is an excellent initiative which works to the advantage of both the police and local garage owners.

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"We are keen to extend it across Suffolk, and would be delighted to hear from any garages who wish to join us."

The problem was discussed again at a meeting of Suffolk Police Authority's best value committee on Friday, where it was recommended that partnerships and sponsorship deals could be pursued, to clean the outside of cars.

That will save cash as it would cost £39,000 to replace each car wash facility at Martlesham force headquarters, and Ipswich and Lowestoft police stations.

The authority is also looking at whether it would be cheaper to employ a company to clean the inside of cars, instead of taking on three extra part time cleaners to do the job.

Any garage owner wanting to get involved, should contact administration manager Andy Cutting on 01284 774098.

Weblink: www.suffolk.police.uk

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