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Cutting police vehicles cuts costs

PUBLISHED: 16:20 23 April 2009 | UPDATED: 09:08 06 July 2010

SUFFOLK Constabulary believes it can slash its spending by more than £210,000 a year through discarding 11pc of its vehicles.

Over the first three months of 2009 it has taken 50 of its 450-strong fleet off the road in a money-saving trial.

SUFFOLK Constabulary believes it can slash its spending by more than £210,000 a year through discarding 11pc of its vehicles.

Over the first three months of 2009 it has taken 50 of its 450-strong fleet off the road in a money-saving trial.

The force has also warned that further reductions in its transport services are also likely to be made in the future.

The proposed moves are set against a backdrop of crushing financial pressure. Worrying budgetary constraints are forcing the constabulary to find a way of cutting costs, while trying to maintain the standard of policing the county receives.

Tomorrow a meeting of Suffolk Police Authority will hear that, based on the 50-vehicle reduction, an annual saving of £215,000 will be realised.

A fleet review team is considering what, if any, operational risks are associated with the removal of further vehicles as part of phase two of the transport overhaul.

The initial savings that have already been clawed back suggest overall fuel consumption of the fleet was reduced by around £4,000 in January alone.

A report prepared for the police authority stresses the constabulary's operational performance appears to have been unaffected by the decline in the number of vehicles.

Video-conferencing, as opposed to travelling to meetings, has also been used as a tool to save fuel and other vehicle-related costs.

The fleet review encompasses the number and type of vehicles used by Suffolk Constabulary workers. It is also looking at the proportion of marked cars it uses in relation to unmarked cars, and the balance between pool and hire vehicles.

Also under scrutiny are the payment of mileage allowances, and working practices such as the deployment of officers and crewing policies.

The force has said the sharp increase in the cost of fuel in 2008 required rapid action to offset any overspend during the last financial year.

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