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Thursday 3rd
posted by Morning Star in Britain

A FLEET of more than 100 police cars without sirens are responding to 999 calls because of budget cuts, the West Midlands Police Federation revealed yesterday.

The federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said the 109 “lights-only” Vauxhall Corsas were allowing criminals to escape arrest.

It claimed officers were becoming stuck in traffic because the lack of sirens meant they could not break speed limits or pass red lights.

Federation deputy chairman Tom Cuddeford highlighted one incident where police were responding to reports of a colleague being assaulted, but the suspect got away because the Corsas were held up by traffic congestion.

He said that officers were “frustrated” at not having “the tools for the job” and was aware of about 100 occasions in the last year where the Corsas were used.

West Midlands Police claimed the Corsas were not routinely used for response duties.

But Mr Cuddeford said budget cuts had led to Corsas “being used to fill the gap.”

An incident in which police responding to a potential kidnapping become stuck in a built-up area was one example the federation gave. Officers also reported being “hampered” and “frustrated” by heavy traffic while trying to apprehend a shoplifter.

West Midlands Police, which has had to make £120 million of budget cuts since 2010, must find further savings of £100m over the next five years.

West Midlands police and crime commissioner David Jamieson said: “I have concerns that there may be occasions when officers have travelled to emergencies in vehicles that are not equipped or appropriate.”