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£1.17m bill for damaged police cars

POLICE Scotland spent more than £1 million fixing force vehicles that were damaged in accidents last year.

The national force has admitted its spending on such repairs was 60 per cent over budget in 2013/14 at £1.17m.

Soaring accident repair costs were one of the reasons why the new body's transport budget recorded a £2m-plus overspend in its first year.

Senior officers are now determined to squeeze more cash out of the insurers of motorists who caused damage to police vehicles to help cut the overspend.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: "We have tightened and improved our processes to ensure that we pursue third-party claims where accidents were not our fault. Legacy forces across Scotland had always locally operated such schemes but we are now using the advantage of being one single force to ensure this is done more efficiently.

"The money recovered will be put into our accident damage budget."

The force spends more than £27m on transport, up from a budget of around £25m. Its fuel bill soared during 2013/14, despite falling fuel prices, as car use jumped five per cent. Some officers and staff are now making longer journeys because they are part of a national force and have further to travel. However, travelling costs by public transport and private cars turned out to be below a budget set on the basis of the eight old forces.

Police Scotland had planned to cut its car fleet by 10 per cent. It failed to meet this target, resulting in a maintenance bill that was 17 per cent higher than expected.

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