Petrol cost forces police cars review

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The Independent Online

Derbyshire Police force is considering cutting the number of miles its officers drive because of the increasing cost of fuel.

Derbyshire Police force is considering cutting the number of miles its officers drive because of the increasing cost of fuel.

As foot-patrol officers have been increasingly replaced with police in cars, the force admits that the price of petrol could have an impact. Already some officers on community beats who use their own vehicles have been forced to dip into their own pockets.

Now Derbyshire says it could be forced to cut patrol and traffic-car mileage to stay in budget. A spokeswoman said: "We have only got a limited budget and we may possibly look to reduce the amount of mileage to stay within that budget." She added that the matter had already been highlighted to the force finance department and would be discussed at the next budget meeting.

Chief Inspector Andy Allsop, of the police operations division, said: "This is a perennial problem that occurs every time the price of fuel rises and it does have an impact on us."

Derbyshire has 45 traffic cars and 160 patrol cars, which average 40,000 miles and 30,000 to 35,000 miles a year respectively. In total, patrolling police vehicles in the county do about 7.5 million miles a year.

Simon Woodings of the Automobile Association said: "Police forces are relying more and more heavily on vehicles to do their job of preventing crime and now they are being hit in the same way as the normal motorist." He added: "In the case of the police one can see the very difficult position continuing fuel price rises leaves them in - money should be made available to them to continue to do their work."

Derbyshire is to do a review before its October budget meeting, when possible patrol cuts will be discussed.

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