Police officers have started using a car-sharing club which could cut costs and the size of its own fleet, The Scotsman has learned.
In what’s believed to be a UK first, staff at one of Police Scotland’s main offices are piloting the scheme, which could be spread across the force.
Two dedicated Enterprise Car Club vehicles are based at its west of Scotland administrative headquarters at Dalmarnock in Glasgow.
Police chiefs are encouraging the hundreds of staff there to use the club’s Toyota Aygo and Ford Fiesta for work travel instead of using their own cars or police vehicles.
They will also be able to use car club vehicles elsewhere in Scotland, such as in Edinburgh and Inverness.
The cars are expected to be used for business trips, such as for meetings, rather than operational duties.
However, they could be used by both officers and office staff.
The move is thought to be the first by a UK police force, and follows other public bodies joining car clubs.
They include Borders General and Forth Valley hospitals, and St Andrews and Strathclyde universities.
Police Scotland said the initiative should cut mileage claims from staff using their own cars, and could lead to a reduction in the size of the force’s fleet of 2,000 unmarked vehicles.
Police Scotland fleet manager Stewart Taylor said: “The car club allows staff stationed at Dalmarnock to hire the cars on either an hourly basis or for longer, and is ideal for short meetings in and around Glasgow, or for a longer journey.
“The scheme will negate the use of personal vehicles and eliminate personal wear and tear to vehicles.
“Additionally, staff exclusively using the vehicles for work-related travel will no longer be required to have business insurance in place for their personal vehicle, providing personal savings.
“The trial scheme also provides for hire vehicles located around Scotland, such as at Edinburgh Waverley Station, to be used by staff travelling long distances by train, so they can pick up a hire car and complete their journey, eliminating additional costs.
“We replace about 300 vehicles a year, so if that can be reduced, it could be a substantial benefit.
“The trial, which is due to run for another three months, will be reviewed and a decision taken as to whether it provides sufficient business benefits to continue.”
Calum Steele, general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation, which represents most officers, said: “If it works, it seems like a whole load of common sense.”