How the Plod pranging panda cars costs us £1.3m a year

Several accidents happened at the car park at Lothian and Borders' Fettes HQ

SCOTTISH police pranged five panda cars a day on average last year, running up a repair bill of almost £1.3m.

And one in ten of the accidents at Scotland’s biggest two forces happened inside police station car parks.

Strathclyde Police, according to official figures, recorded 931 crashes last year compared with 859 three years earlier.

Repairing the damage cost the force – which is shedding up to 800 posts –  £629,000, the equivalent of employing 20 full-time staff.

Almost 90 of the incidents in Strathclyde happened inside police car parks.

As well as patrol cars, prison vans, incident command vehicles and even a horse box were also dented.

Lothian and Borders Police recorded 244 accidents involving their vehicles in 2010, 33 of which happened in police station car parks.

One accident alone racked up a bill for £28,000 – £7,000 to repair a Mercedes and £21,000 in third party cover.

Emma Boon of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “Officers must do everything they can to keep the number of crashes down and reduce the cost of these prangs.”

She added: “With pressures on forces’ budgets, taxpayers don’t want to see money diverted away from the front line to pay for repairs or higher insurance.”

Strathclyde Police said all accidents involving their vehicles were fully investigated and appropriate action taken.”

Lothian and Borders said all accidents were investigated and, in more serious cases, a Vehicle Collision Board set up to investigate whether those involved needed retraining or “reassessment”.

The figures show that Tayside Police crashed cars 190 times last year, at a cost of £65,000.  Grampian reported 217 crashes at a cost of £58,000, Northern reported 69 accidents costing £135,000.

Central reported 57 crashes costing £110,000 and Dumfries and Galloway just six and a repair bill of £15,000.

Fife did not supply answers.