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Inadequate parking facilities blamed

Between 2011 and 2012, Staffordshire police drivers were involved in an incredible 48 accidents – in car parks belonging to the force!

These accidents are included in a total of 487 claims which have been submitted to the insurers of Staffordshire Police.

A further 48 claims were lodged for damage which was sustained inside police stations.
45 other claims involved drivers that hit the vehicle travelling directly in front of them and more than 60 were due to misjudgements or errors on the road.

All these figures were revealed at a meeting of the Staffordshire Police where it was also shown that since 2006, there have been almost 350 accidents in police stations or properties, which meant that an insurance claim had to be made.

A former advanced police driving instructor commented that in years gone by any police officer who got even a small scratch on a police vehicle would mean being banned for a week.

Standards have obviously dropped significantly but not only in Staffordshire, the same problem is experienced everywhere in the country.
Surprisingly, given the recent figures, the numbers of accidents which involve police drivers in Staffordshire have actually reduced in the last 5 years.

Between 2006 and 2007, there were nearly 800 insurance claims made as a result of accidents but the number has steadily reduced to the 487 of last year. However, it was pointed out to the meeting that Staffordshire police force is much smaller than it was in years gone by. There are currently 1,951 officers, whereas in October 2009 there were 2291.

A former Police Inspector from Staffordshire has commented that although the parking facilities at newer police properties are fit for purpose, those at older stations were not built for the number of police vehicles which use them today.

The space is very limited and there are lots of vehicles trying to fit into the space. The majority of police stations are found in the middles of towns, surrounded by double yellow lines, which means that there is nowhere else to police vehicles.

The main problem is when officers are responding to an urgent 999 call and simply misjudges the quite tight spaces in the car park. It probably isn’t very well lit and officers may be tired, at the end of a long shift.

The director of Resources at Staffordshire Police says that all police officers have a lot to think about when they are on duty and often have to respond to stressful emergency situations.

Accidents are relatively common when officers are behind the wheel of police vehicles, but fortunately the accidents are usually minor.
Each vehicle is involved in a huge variety of circumstances and is in operation around the clock with each clocking up thousands of miles every year.

All officers undergo assessments and regular training. Each incident is investigated fully and action is always taken when necessary.