Ministers accused of squeezing police budgets over ageing cars
Freedom of Information Act requests revealed that five forces have cars that are more than 20 years old, with one vehicle dating back to 1986, with Police Scotland being one of five forces with cars over 20 years old.
The figures, from 28 police forces in England, Wales and Scotland were uncovered by the Liberal Democrats.
The party’s home affairs spokesman, Alistair Carmichael, said: “People would be shocked to learn that the police still own a vehicle from 1986.
“When the car was first registered, Lionel Messi hadn’t been born, the Pet Shop Boys were topping the charts, and Google was still a decade away from invention. How can a car past its prime be reliable in an emergency?”
The information released to the Lib Dems does not reveal what policing tasks the vehicles are used for.
Mr Carmichael said: “Of course the police need to maximise their resources, but their fleets are not the place to cut corners.
“To ensure crucial parts of their jobs, like high-speed chases, are safe, the police should be using modern, fit-for-purpose vehicles, not cars older than the people driving them.
“Our police forces do a fantastic job 24/7, especially around the festive season, keeping our communities and families safe.
“But this Conservative Government has run their budgets into the ground, squeezing them on from every angle and making it harder to do their jobs effectively.
“Police must have their budgets restored and the Government must ensure each force has access to equipment that is state of the art and can function exactly as required in an emergency.”
Analysis by the Lib Dems showed West Yorkshire has the 36-year-old car, one of five forces with vehicles dating back 20 years or more – the others were Avon and Somerset, Suffolk, Police Scotland and Hertfordshire.
In a sign of regional variations, 14 per cent of Avon and Somerset’s fleet is at least a decade old, while just 1 per cent of Surrey’s cars are 10 years old.