Washing cars costing police dear

WASHING police cars is costing Suffolk Constabulary a whopping £38,000 and 1,700 hours of officers' and civilian employee's time each year.The figures are the equivalent of one police constable spending all their time scrubbing away grime instead of fighting crime.

WASHING police cars is costing Suffolk Constabulary a whopping £38,000 and 1,700 hours of officers' and civilian employee's time each year.

The figures are the equivalent of one police constable spending all their time scrubbing away grime instead of fighting crime.

And the annual bill including cleaning materials and help from civilian support drivers totals £68,150.

The costs are revealed in a road transport services report due to be discussed by Suffolk Police Authority's Best Value Committee on Friday .


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The report by acting chief constable Gillian Parker states: "Approximately 66 hours of constable time are required to clean each vehicle once.

"Assuming that vehicles are on average cleaned every two weeks, this means that approximately 1,700 hours of constable time are used each year for vehicle cleaning.

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"Consequently it can be said that in round terms, the time of one constable is diverted to vehicle cleaning. This represents a cost of £38,000 per annum."

"It is arguable that police constables predominantly wash the vehicles. Officers complete this task with regularity on a Sunday morning.

Ipswich and Lowestoft stations, and Martlesham HQ, have their own car wash machines.

Other police forces have similar arrangements in place, and research has found garages and mobile cleaning units charge £40 per internal and external valet.

Mrs Parker added that clean cars helps people identify police vehicles better, and help the force's public image.

Her report concludes: "It could be argued that performance indicators would improve with increased visibility and activity of officers if they were not cleaning police vehicles.

"Continuing with current practice absorbs expenditure which would otherwise provide nearly one constable post."

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Police said today: "It is very important that our cars are well maintained and looked after.

"We do have an image to present to the public and a good service to deliver."

N Have you an opinion on the amount of time and money being spent on cleaning police cars? Then write in to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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