Squad vehicles to be reduced to save force money

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POLICE chiefs are cutting the number of cars available for bobbies and detectives in South Yorkshire in a bid to save money.

The idea is one of the ways bosses hope to manage a £43 million reduction in funding over the next four years following the Government’s public sector spending review.

As well as down-sizing their vehicle fleet, bosses say they want to buy smaller and more efficient cars in the future when vehicles need replacing.

They also want cars to be fuelled by diesel instead of petrol.

Currently South Yorkshire Police runs a fleet of 743 vehicles - 533 cars, 179 vans, 26 motorcycles and five LGVs.

A force spokeswoman said 212 were Ford Focuses, while Ford Fiestas make up 69 of the fleet and Ford Transit Connect vans another 30.

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said the fleet budget had been devolved to districts and departments and it would be up to each department to make the necessary cuts.

But she added front-line vehicles, such as patrol cars and traffic vehicles, would not be affected by the changes.

Staff have also been asked to think about their driving style and how to get the most miles per gallon when behind the wheel of a police vehicle.

The force has spent £3.35 million on fuel over the last two years.

Martin Whysall, head of vehicle fleet management, said staff had been advised of predictions for rising fuel costs in the future and urged them to play their part in keeping costs down.

“Business managers at districts and departments have been advised of the projections and asked to instigate plans to reduce fuel expenditure and raise awareness among drivers of the effect their driving style could have on a vehicle’s miles per gallon,” he said.

“The force is down-sizing vehicles to save cost and fuel use where possible.

“CID cars are now 1.4d Ford Fiestas, a change from 1.6d Ford Focuses with an anticipated seven per cent reduction in fuel consumption. All future purchases will be diesel fuelled unless there is a genuine operational reason why it would not be suitable.

“All new traffic vehicles are diesel.