Police fuel bills to soar by tens of thousands

·2-min read
Soaring fuel costs will impact Cumbria's police force
Soaring fuel costs will impact Cumbria's police force

Police fuel bills will soar by tens of thousands of pounds this year as the cost-of-living crisis tightens its grip on Cumbria.

A stark increase in petrol prices will significantly impact Cumbria Constabulary, the area’s Police and Crime Commissioner has warned.

The force estimated that its fuel cost for 2022-23 would be around £1.1m – but Peter McCall told the News & Star that it now faces an excess of £77,000.

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However, both the PCC and the force said the extra cost would not impact its ability to serve the public and tackle crime.

Concerns were flagged during the PCC’s last Public Accountability Conference meeting, held last week.

News and Star: Peter McCall, crime commissioner for Cumbria
News and Star: Peter McCall, crime commissioner for Cumbria

PCC Peter McCall

During that meeting, Mr McCall said the impact on the force’s budget of an increase in fuel costs would be significant – “particularly as Cumbria is a rural county and we depend on cops getting around using vehicles more than our colleagues in the Met.”

Following the meeting, which was held to discuss finances, the PCC said the extra cost was an “unwelcome potential overspend” that would be managed.

He added: “Cumbria is one of the largest counties in the country to police and given our rurality it is essential that the police are able to respond to incidents quickly, fuel is therefore a significant cost to policing in Cumbria.

“While increasing fuel cost will be a budget challenge, the public will continue to see the same level of service from the police that they did before the cost of fuel began to rise – cost of fuel will never be more important than protecting the public from crime.”

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A spokesman for Cumbria Constabulary said officers would continue to respond to incidents, patrol communities and travel wherever necessary to conduct enquiries or secure evidence.

News and Star: Cumbria Constabulary
News and Star: Cumbria Constabulary

However, he said the force had embraced technology that allows it to conduct some of its work remotely, “reducing the need to drive back and forth to police stations”.

The spokesman added: “Like many organisations, many of our internal meetings are held virtually which reduces the amount of time spent and the associated costs of travelling to and from meetings.

“Officers also have access to handheld mobile devices, which offer functionality to carry out a number of enquiries or actions whilst out in communities.”

The public can also now submit evidence to the force online, rather than hand it over to an officer who has had to travel to receive it.

Cumbria Constabulary also use some electric vehicles.