POLICE in Derbyshire have crashed their vehicles more than 600 times in the past three years – costing thousands in repairs.
Figures show that 252 of these were caused by officers reversing, 11 were the result of speeding and some others involved doing unsafe U-turns.
Since April 2010, more than 1,300 police cars have been damaged in collisions – costing £865,000 in repairs – with police admitting their drivers were to blame in 608 cases.
The number of vehicles damaged has risen from just under 400 in the year to April 2010, to 450 last year.
There were two recorded incidents of ‘tactical impact’ – where police cars were used to block other vehicles in order to catch crooks.
The figures were obtained by a Freedom of Information request.
The repairs totalled £856,000 but the force was unable to say how much of this was covered by insurance companies and third parties.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance has called for senior officers to ‘get a grip’ on the problem of vehicles being damaged.
But Deputy Chief Constable, Alan Goodwin, said that in a lot of cases the damage was minimal and police drivers are highly trained.
He said: “These statistics reflect a variety of collisions. Some collisions happened while officers were trying to detain offenders who had driven off, while several took place when we were responding to emergency calls.
“In many cases, the damage caused to police vehicles was minimal.
“All officers who drive police vehicles undergo a driver training course to minimise the risk of collisions.
“However, it is inevitable that at some point, police vehicles will be involved in collisions, either while responding to incidents or during routine journeys.”
But Eleanor McGrath, campaign manager of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It is shocking that so many police cars were damaged as a result of incidents where the police were to blame.
“Police chiefs need to get a grip on this problem as every penny going towards these repairs means less money for frontline policing.”