Federation demands review of force’s staff cars

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THE chairman of the North Yorkshire Police Federation is calling on the force to undertake a review of its superintendents’ cars before axing operational vehicles in budget savings.

In a speech to the North Yorkshire Police Federation annual meeting in Harrogate, chairman Mark Botham also warned that rank and file officers feel angry and betrayed about the service.

In the past, the force has come under fire for wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds on cars officially described as “command platforms”, even though an audit report found the vehicles were rarely used at major incidents because superintendents were usually office-based.

But in recent years it has slimmed down its fleet of command platforms to 12 Vauxhall Astras, one Ford Focus, one Volvo XC60 and one Volvo XC90s.

Mr Botham said he was moved to call for the review due to a proposal to reduce the fleet of 21 dog vans because nine of them need replacing.

“In 2012, coping with a 20 per cent budget cut and now that we have 24/7 chief inspectors in the control room, where is the business case for command platforms being provided to superintendent ranks?” he said.

“Can I make it clear we have no axe to grind with the Superintendents’ Association, or any member of it, but if we are going to do reviews of essential operational police vehicles on the basis of cost can we please set and make public a timeframe for an open transparent review of command platforms?”

Mr Botham also branded the Government’s approach to policing “chaotic, foolish and aggressive”, saying reform had been done in a “piecemeal” way.

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “All operational vehicles are under constant review to ensure we get the best possible value and effectiveness from our fleet.

“The feedback that was raised at the Police Federation meeting will be included in upcoming reviews and staff consultations.

“The provision of dog vans for each dog handler is currently under review by the force.

“At present dog handlers keep their work van at home when not on duty, even when they are on a series of rest days.

“The review is taking into account detailed feedback from the dog handlers with the aim of achieving the most efficient and effective use of this particular resource. This is in line with every facet of the organisation.

“Staff can be assured that the review is very much still ongoing and no decisions have been made at this stage.”

During the meeting temporary chief constable Tim Madgwick, praised the commitment of officers and staff.