Police prangs in own car parks cost £250k

Police in Scotland had 764 accidents in their own car parks

SCOTTISH police officers are pranging a car every two days – in their own car parks.

Blundering officers damaged panda cars by reversing into fuel pumps, crashing into other cop cars and forgetting to apply handbrakes.

Other officers drove into gateposts and skips, with some blaming their errors on their feet slipping from the clutch.

Scotland’s eight forces saw a total of 764 accidents at police stations since 2009.

The scrapes have cost more than £250,000 to fix, according to figures released under freedom of information legislation.

Critics have hit out at the bill, saying officers need to be more to avoid unnecessary self-inflicted bills.

Robert Oxley, campaigns manager of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “Police drivers often have to spend their time driving fast with blues and twos going but that’s no excuse for prangs in the car park.

“Needless repairs to high performance squad cars isn’t going to be cheap. Taxpayers cannot afford bills like this.

“A little more care parking at the station could save a lot of money which would ease pressures on police budgets.”


Les Gray, the chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, said: “This is unacceptable and many of the accidents are due to carelessness.

“However high the numbers its important to note that police cars are almost always in use, 24/7, 365 days a year.

“That gives is some perspective but I am in no way making excuses.

“It’s unacceptable. It is taken very seriously by police bosses.

“It eats into police budgets and officers will be dragged over the hot coals if they are found to be negligent.

“It’s not just a case of officers shrugging their shoulders and getting on with their day, they will be held accountable and have to fill in reams of paperwork to explain themselves.”

Strathclyde, the country’s biggest police force, saw almost 300 accidents since 2009, at a cost of more than £135,000.

Officers in Grampian were involved in 130 car park smashes but officialw were unable to give costs for repairs.

Tayside has 104 accidents, costing £30,000, while the country’s second largest force, Lothian and Borders had two fewer bumps but spent £10,000 more on repairing vehicles.

Central spent £20,000 on putting right 77 scrapes, while Fife had 37, at a cost of £18,000 and Northern had 17, costing £5000 in repairs.

Dumfries and Galloway did not supply any figures, though they had previously admitted to six accidents during 2010, thought to have happened outside car parks, and a repair bill of £15,000.

.Strathclyde said there had been a “significant reduction” in accidents since 2009, saying that modifications to car parks, better driver training and newer technology had all played a role in bringing accident numbers down.

Last year it was revealed that police officers had cost taxpayers at least £80,000 by putting the wrong kind of fuel in their patrol cars.

Almost 350 police vehicles had to be taken off the road after officers filled up petrol cars with diesel or diesel cars with petrol.

Official figures show that the fuelling mistakes cost almost £60,000 in avoidable garage bills. It is estimated that fuel worth a further £20,000 had to be thrown away.