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Better training and rigorous checks helps to reduce police car incidents by 100 in a year
Police have credited improved training for a dramatic fall in the number of accidents involving police cars in the past three years, especially in the Bradford area.
A Freedom of Information request submitted by the Telegraph & Argus to West Yorkshire Police has revealed that in the financial year 2012/13, there were 638 cases of police cars being damaged through crashes and criminal damage.
That was almost 100 fewer incidents than the previous year, and 437 less than in 2009/10.
The chief inspector of roads policing says that tougher scrutiny of accidents and more frequent driving reviews of police officers meant police car crashes were now rarer than even a few years ago.
The figures show a marked improvement for Bradford South, which in 2010 had the highest amount of police car crashes across West Yorkshire – 164 in one year.
That figure has now plummeted to 86 – with Kirklees, which includes Cleckheaton, adopting the mantle of most accident prone division at 122 accidents last year.
In 2011/12 there were 733 incidents across the whole West Yorkshire force, 741 in 2010/11 and 1,075 in 2009/10.
The figures include “found damage” to cars, blameworthy and non-blameworthy collisions, criminal damage and minor damage and windscreen replacements.
Airedale and North Bradford division has also become safer, with the number of accidents falling from 163 three years ago to 71 last year.
Figures for Calderdale, which covers Brighouse and Shelf, fell from 103 in 2009/10 to 66 last year.
Chief Inspector Mark Bownass from the Roads Policing team said: “We have continued to improve upon the training measures provided to officers over the past two years and this approach has enabled us to bring about a significant reduction in the number of collisions involving police vehicles.
“Every incident is recorded and scrutinised by senior managers. Where appropriate, we look to re-train officers and share this learning forcewide via daily briefings and internal updates.
“The frequency of driving reviews that we conduct has also increased, ensuring every officer behind the wheel has the most up to date skills and knowledge.
By regularly assessing our processes and practices, we aim to further reduce these figures and the subsequent costs of repairs.”