29 Dec 2019
Cash-strapped Police Scotland own hundreds of patrol cars with capacity for five people – but only have them insured to carry three.
It has emerged the single force has 628 vehicles which – because of weight regulations – can only ever be a fraction full.
It is understood the vehicles need to have upgraded suspension in order to carry five people, together with the heavy equipment and uniform police officers wear.
But hundreds of cars don’t have that in place, meaning they don’t meet full insurance regulations.
Shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said the revelations were another example of a police force being expected to operate by the SNP government with insufficient funding and inappropriate resource.
The restrictions on the five-seat vehicles isn’t thought to have a major effect on keeping the public safe, as it would be rare for the cars to carry more than two officers and one suspect or victim at a time.
But it is likely to have an efficiency impact with the vehicles also used to transfer police officers on duties such as moving between police stations and attending court.
Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said:
“These revelations are symptomatic of a police force which isn’t properly supported or funded by the SNP government.
“Hardly a day goes by where we don’t see another damaging impact of Police Scotland being one of the worst-funded forces in the UK.
“And while this insurance glitch may not have a direct impact on the public, it still places more strain on an organisation which is already struggling to keep its head above water.
“Clearly the SNP government thinks it can save some cash by placing these restrictions on vehicles.
“But in reality, it only serves to make the jobs of hard-working police officers that little bit harder.”