Police say they are having to respond to emergency calls in Vauxhall Corsas not equipped with sirens following budget cuts made by the Government.
West Midlands Police have had to use the Vauxhalls – which are kitted with blue lights but no sirens – to reach emergency calls over 100 times in the last 12 months, according to reports.
The force has 109 Vauxhall Corsa patrol cars on its fleet, intended for non-emergency use only. Budget cuts, however, mean they’re being used to respond to urgent 999 calls.
Officers are told they’re not allowed to break the rules of the road without sirens – leading to ‘huge frustration’ as they struggle to make their 15 minute target to reach crime scenes.
Superintendent Kerry Blakeman, from the West Midlands Police’s operations department, told local newspaper the Express and Star: “Any officer can respond to an incident if they are suitably trained to drive at speed and are in an appropriate vehicle – with lights and siren.
“Officers who are not appropriately trained and/or driving an appropriate vehicle can attend an incident as quickly and safely as possible while complying with the Road Traffic Act just as members of the public should.
“Incidents graded as ‘immediate’ are responded to as soon as possible, usually in a matter of minutes and on many occasions require the use of lights and sirens.
“At no point was the Corsa intended for response work as it is a low performance vehicle.”