A CONTROVERSIAL scheme that gives senior police officers fully-equipped four-wheel drive Volvos for personal as well as official use has been successful and cost-effective and should continue, Cambridgeshire s Chief Constable Julie Spence says. All unifor
A CONTROVERSIAL scheme that gives senior police officers fully-equipped four-wheel drive Volvos for personal as well as official use has been successful and cost-effective and should continue, Cambridgeshire's Chief Constable Julie Spence says.
All uniformed chief superintendents provide round-the-clock cover for firearms and other serious incidents, and senior detective provide similar cover for serious crimes.
Providing them with suitable fully-equipped vehicles for use as command platforms has improved operational effectiveness at the same time as saving on the cost of the officers' "essential user" mileage claims, Mrs Spence has told the police authority. The force also got a substantially discount on bulk purchase of the original fleet.
The net cost has been £119,000 over four years - equivalent to £1,500 per car per year - with each of the cars covering between 32,000 and 107,000 miles over the four years.
"The vehicles have also been deployed on numerous occasions as command platforms as anticipated, as well as attending murder scenes, kidnaps, a helicopter crash and by junior officers in lieu of non-availability of other vehicles," she said.
With the four years almost up, the force is now faced with deciding whether to continue the scheme for the future.
"There are additional costs when compared to the essential-user scheme, but they are small," she said. "More importantly, the benefits are substantial and, when set against the additional costs, provide good value for money."
She said North Yorkshire Police, which has a comparable scheme, had looked at changing to a fleet of Ford Focus cars. But the smaller cars would be less effective and would not provide the "visible leadership and goodwill" that the Volvos have generated.
The police authority is to be asked to back continuation of the Volvo scheme at its meeting this afternoon (Tuesday).