Police vehicles are hit by a spate of breakdowns with with 345 call-outs a year

SUSSEX police officers are having to rely on break-down recovery teams to keep them on the road after suffering hundreds of breakdowns in the space of a year.

Figures show that Sussex Police had to make 345 emergency recovery call-outs during 2012.

Recovery teams were called out once a day on average.

Police blame the high call-out figures on the intensive round-the clock use of police vehicles and said that vehicles being vandalised was also causing problems for the force.

The call-outs rose from 2011, which saw 328 incidents in 2011 but fell from 2010 which saw a staggering 751 emergency recovery call-outs.

Recovery teams responded to a wide range of affected vehicles including Hyundai Getz, Fiat Puntos and Ford Focuses to more high end vehicles such as Land Rover Defenders, BMW 330s and Lexus IS 250s.

Sussex Police’s fleet of vehicles covers between 14 and 15 million miles a year.

A Sussex Police spokesman said breakdown call-outs had no adverse affects on operational cover or the force’s ability to protect the public.

He said: “The figures, which have reduced by nearly a half from two years ago, do not relate solely to police vehicle breakdowns.

They include a wide variety of other incidents such as accidental damage

“We obviously will not leave a vehicle which is defective for any reason on the road and in each case the vehicle is returned to our workshops by an authorised recovery vehicle.

“The cars are serviced every 6,000 miles, which is within manufacturer’s recommended intervals and recognises their intensive use.”

Sussex Police Federation chairman Bob Brown said: “The reliability of our vehicles is not an issue that any of our members have raised.

“We have not had any reports of cars breaking down while on emergency calls which would have to be reported under health and safety regulations.

“Most of the Sussex Police vehicles are on the road 20 hours out of 24 and if we required that sort of performance from our family cars you would probably see a similar level of breakdown call-outs.”

The Sussex Police Road Unit is based at Polegate.

Locally police log on for shifts at Battle Police Station.