MORE than 200 people have been hurt in 1,000 crashes involving South Yorkshire Police cars in the past three years.
Almost £750,000 in compensation has been paid out by the police to people injured in collisions, or to owners of property damaged in the crashes, it has been revealed.
The figures, released following a Freedom of Information inquiry, show the number of crashes since April 2008 totalled 1,152.
And the numbers show 214 people have been injured, and just over £731,510 in compensation has been paid.
Four police officers have been ‘disciplined’ for motoring offences involving the collisions, and two investigations are currently underway.
South Yorkshire Police Authority chairman Neil Bowles said the number of collisions compared with the number of miles travelled by police cars every year meant, statistically, crashes were quite rare.
The force has a fleet of 750 vehicles - including response cars, high performance road policing vehicles, crime scene investigation vans, dog cars and vans to transport prisoners - which collectively cover 12 million miles a year.
In the space of one year, South Yorkshire Police received 73,911 calls graded as ‘immediate’ - meaning lights and sirens should be used for an officer to attend within 15 minutes of the call.
South Yorkshire’s temporary chief constable, Bob Dyson, said: “Police drivers receive a high standard of training to respond quickly and safely to emergencies. But unfortunately accidents can happen due to the nature of an officer’s duty.”
He added: “South Yorkshire Police has an internal claims fund to compensate members of the public involved in collisions.”
Between March last year and April 2010 there were 349 collisions involving South Yorkshire Police cars. The year before there were 401, and the year before that there were 402.
Mr Bowles added: “All police road traffic collisions are treated very seriously, let alone if some cause casualties, and all are investigated by a supervisory officer. I believe all police drivers take their duties and responsibilities extremely professionally.”