Fleet News

Police launch inquiry over vehicle safety fears

THE Metropolitan Police have launched an inquiry into the quality of maintenance of its 3,500 vehicles after officers expressed fears about their safety. The vehicles are maintained under contract by the Venson Group, which has carried out repairs and maintenance of the 3,500 non-covert fleet since 1998, when it won the contract from the Metropolitan Police's own in-house workshops.

This week a Metropolitan Police statement said: 'We confirm there has been a number of complaints about the maintenance of police vehicles. Routine monitoring of the contract has shown some work that is not up to the required standard. We are taking a rigorous approach with our contractor in addressing these concerns.' A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman ruled out the possibility that there were doubts about the maintenance standard of vehicles in other police forces.

Venson chairman and chief executive Grant Scriven said he stood by the Metropolitan Police's stance on the issue, but declined to comment further. The Police Federation said complaints had been raised about the correct maintenance of brakes and fitting of tyres and the 'unacceptable' number of vehicles off-road requiring servicing at one time. Glen Smythe, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation said: 'We are telling officers to examine vehicles with extra thoroughness and if they are not happy declare them unsafe.'

Venson is one year into a seven-year contract, worth £53 million, to carry out maintenance of the police cars, motorcycles, vans and larger commercial vehicles at workshops previously used by the police. A total of 80 staff transferred from the Metropolitan Police to Venson. The concerns about vehicle safety is likely to cause embarrassment at the Met, which is pioneering the use of 'black box' in-car data recorders in an attempt to improve road safety.

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