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Force’s Fleet Reduction ‘A Step Too Far’

Local Fed claims cuts to fleet have gone too far for operational policing as force scoops award for savings programme

A force that clinched an award for the raft of savings it has made to its vehicle fleet has been criticised by senior Federation members for “going too far”.

Cleveland Police, along with its strategic business partner Steria, received the award in the best cross functional project category at the recent Association of Police Procurement Professionals Conference.

Judges were told how a strategic fleet management group was assembled to reduce costs to the force’s fleet following cuts to its budget.

The team, led by Ch Supt Michael Hartnack, conducted a review of the fleet, probing what was actually needed to maintain levels of service to the public as well as meeting operational requirements while cutting costs.

Following the review a number of changes were implemented, including reducing the fleet by 30 to 279, replacing vehicles used less frequently, cutting the number of unmarked and non-specialist vehicles and slashing the use of personal mileage allowance and long-term hire vehicles.

The team saved the force £158,077 a year, with savings of £439,000 expected over three years.

Force spokeswoman Ann Hall said: “Our vision was to realise savings so that as much of our budget as possible is used to deliver front line policing in Cleveland. The team from Cleveland Police and Steria has worked incredibly hard, and I am delighted that their excellent work has been recognised.”

However Steve Matthews, Chairman of the Fed regional branch board, told PoliceOracle.com that the reduction has led to cuts in efficiency in certain departments and has negatively impacted on the ability of CID to respond to some incidents.

He said: “As they have reduced the fleet, which includes CID vehicles, they (officers) have to find and use other vehicles that are not as suitable.

“We understand things are difficult for the force but they have probably gone too far.

He added: “CID has always been limited in the use of cars. But we are at a tipping point and the operational effect is starting to be felt.”

However, a spokeswoman for the force said the number for vehicles for CID had actually increased by seven following the review.

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