Police officers using 'silent cars' without sirens to get to emergencies because of funding cuts

The policy has prompted concerns that the public will be put at risk as officers struggle to reach crime scenes on time

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The Independent Online

Police officers have reportedly had to start using "silent" cars without sirens due to funding cuts.

Budget cuts to West Midlands Police mean that officers are using 'silent patrol cars' which have flashing lights but no sirens as they attend urgent incidents. The Vauxhall Corsa patrol vehicles were introduced for the purposes of neighbourhood policing and non-emergencies, but reductions in staff mean that they are now being used for an increasing number of urgent call outs.

The Express and Star reports that an investigation has now been launched into the policy amid concerns that officers are struggling to get to crime scenes within the target of 15 minutes, as traffic does not clear to allow police to pass.

West Midlands Police Federation health and safety officer Pete Harkness told the newspaper: “The lack of a siren creates huge frustration among the officers driving [the vehicles]. They feel they are letting the public down.”

One officer explained how he was alerted to a member of the public being threatened by a drink driver, but did not arrive on time to prevent the assault because he was driving in a ‘silent car’. They said: “The caller was frustrated when we finally arrived after the suspect had disappeared. He shouted ‘Where were you?’. When I explained the situation he replied ‘this defies belief in this day and age’.”

Police Federation branch deputy chairman Tom Cuddeford said that the force were working to resolve the issue. He said: “We know there is a lot of unhappiness about this among our officers and are currently in negotiations with the force command team to find an appropriate way forward on the issue.”

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