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Scottish Conservatives condemn continued use of 'unsafe' police cars

At least 55 Police Scotland vehicles have an engine which risks bursting into flames when driven at high speeds, according to a freedom of information request.

It has been revealed that the at-risk three litre N57 engine is found within 55 marked police vehicles, although Police Scotland have refused to say how many unmarked cars may also be affected.

In 2020, PC Nick Dumphreys died when his BMW caught fire on the M6 near Carlisle. Forces across England subsequently banned officers with patrol cars of a similar engine from exceeding 90mph.  

In January 2021, two Police Scotland officers were hospitalised for carbon monoxide poisoning linked to their patrol car. Other vehicles across the fleet were consequently checked.

The Scottish Conservatives, who submitted the freedom of information request, previously called for a £36.5m package of extra capital support for Police Scotland in the budget.

The party’s justice spokesman, Jamie Greene, said : “The Scottish Conservatives called for a £36.5 million package of extra capital support for Police Scotland in the Budget, but Kate Forbes ignored us and cut it. She, and the SNP, must belatedly see sense.”

Mr Greene said it was “simply unacceptable” that officers were continuing to use the potentially dangerous vehicles.

“It is deeply concerning to learn that so many Police Scotland vehicles are fitted with these potentially dangerous engines.

“If these vehicles are unsafe when driven at high speed then they are clearly not fit for purpose – and I’m appalled that officers are still being expected to use them.

“We’ve known for some time that chronic under-funding from the SNP has left Police Scotland with an ageing, inadequate fleet, but this is simply unacceptable.

“This underfunding has also led to one in 20 police officers being lost from Scotland’s streets since the SNP centralised the police force.”

In January, further figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives found that less than a fifth of police vehicles were zero emission.

The force has begun to modernise its fleet to meet the pledge to have an ultra-low emission fleet by 2030.

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