In the slow lane

FOR years, North Yorkshire has been synonymous with Heartbeat, the genteel police drama that took television viewers back to the era when all policing was local. The sedate pace also reflected the fact rural forces were not blessed with the most modern of equipment – they had to rely on their own tenacity to solve crimes.

That said, it is astonishing that the North Yorkshire Police of today sees fit to use a police van with more than 200,000 miles on the clock – the vehicle sounds like an antique relic that should only be used for TV dramas.

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With each community no longer guaranteed its own dedicated police presence, rapid responses from towns like Malton are essential – and that cannot be provided by a van that will inevitably have reliability issues because of its vintage.

That Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell has acted swiftly to send the vehicle in question to the scrap heap is welcome. But it should not have come to this.

Given the amount spent on modernising his force’s transport fleet, why was this state of affairs allowed to continue before he was challenged by his own officers? For this has taken the “value for money” concept to a new, and potentially dangerous, extreme.