Police Scotland has spent more than £2 million on repairs to its fleet of vehicles since the controversial creation of the nationwide force in 2013, new figures have revealed.
There were also nearly 3,500 collisions involving police vehicles during the same period for the service, according to data released under freedom of information laws.
The log of incidents showed that in 2013-14, the first year of Police Scotland’s existence, there were 1,555 collisions that led to £859,460 being racked up in repair costs.
In 2014-15 the number of collisions reduced to 1,355, but the cost of fixing the vehicles nevertheless increased to £904,267, the figures from the service showed. In the first quarter of 2015-16, 492 collisions were recorded at a cost of £394,228.
Incidents in the three-year period included damage caused to vehicles by a failure to set the handbrake, reversing “negligently” and colliding with an object in the police yard. There were also collisions caused by driving at excess speed, driving on the wrong side of the road and failing to stop at a red light and striking a pedestrian.
Conservative MSP Margaret Mitchell said the cost of fixing damaged police cars and the number of incidents since the Scottish Government merged eight forces into one was “staggering”.
She criticised the amounts spent, which were revealed soon after Holyrood’s justice committee heard the force is facing a £25m budget shortfall – equivalent to the cost of nearly 700 police officers – by the end of the financial year.
Ms Mitchell said: “At high speed and in high-pressure situations, there is always a risk involved and accidents will inevitably happen from time to time.However, the astounding frequency of incidents and the cost of repairs to police vehicles over a relatively short period are staggering.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Responsibility for the management and incidents involving police vehicles are matters for the Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland.”
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “All accident damage to Police Scotland vehicles is assessed by an independent assessor and a report is completed on each vehicle which is sent to the Fleet department to authorise repairs.”