CAR crashes involving vehicles from one of Scotland’s largest police forces have soared in the last year, according to official figures.
The average number of crashes by Lothian and Borders police officers attending 999 calls in previous years has been around 35.
But statistics released today (mon) revealed the number of smashes during emergency dashes had soared to 52.
High speed pursuits accounted for 11 of the crashes in the last 12 months, while there were 13 instances of officers colliding with another vehicle.
On nine occasions the police cars hit a stationary object, while a further 14 crashes were police officers were deemed not to be at fault.
The figures, released under Freedom of Information laws, also show that this year more police officers were injured in collisions than any time in the last five years.
In the 226 crashes recorded in 2010-2011, ten officers suffered injury and four cars were written-off.
Councillor Iain Whyte, convener of Lothian and Borders Police Board, collisions were sometimes unavoidable due to the unpredictable nature of police.
He said: “Everything the police can do to reduce the number of accidents and keep their officers and the public safe is to everyone’s benefit.
“In these times of financial concerns, it’s helpful to be aware of data like this. The very nature of road policing will mean that officers are in difficult and dangerous situations at times, and there always be a certain number of accidents given the number of miles they drive and in the nature of the driving they sometimes have to do.”
He added: “It’s something the board regularly raises with the chief constable, and we get reports on risk assessment and claims.
“It will be something the board will look at when it meets again, and we will take a strong interest.”
Councillors Charles Dundas, a Lib Dem representative on the Lothian and Borders Police Board, said police drivers were exceptionally skilled and the rise in figures was concerning.
“The police have some of the best drivers on the road and have to go through special training,” he said.
“But any increase in the number of accidents involving police cars is a concern, and we will certainly take these concerns to the police board and follow that up with the chief constable to investigate the reason why this appears to be the case.”