Safety concerns raised about PSNI vehicles

Jim Shannon said the concerns came from serving officers
Jim Shannon said the concerns came from serving officers

Fears about the safety of PSNI vehicles have been raised in the House of Commons.

Jim Shannon MP said on Wednesday that officers from four districts had expressed misgivings to him about the use of a particular kind of car, saying the vehicles do not offer enough space to get in or out easily in the event of an attack.

Although Mr Shannon told the Commons the cars were Vauxhall Vectras, he later told the News Letter he was mistaken, and they were in fact Vauxhall Insignias.

He also told the House the cars in question were not armoured, but later acknowledged the Insignias do contain armour (as do Vectras).

However, he stood by concerns about officers’ safety.

He had earlier told the Commons that “police officers – who have an average height of five feet 10 inches – with body armour and weapons cannot get into those cars in time if attacked”.

He said they were “completely unsuitable” for policing areas of high dissident republican activity.

He then told the News Letter the concerns came from serving officers in Londonderry, south Armagh, south Down and west Belfast.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “All armoured vehicles in the PSNI fleet are designed both to keep our officers and staff safe, and to be serviceable across a range of geographical areas.

“The work to ensure that this is and remains the case is continuous, and is overseen at the most senior levels.

“Where concerns are raised by officers, staff or those acting on their behalf, these are considered as part of this ongoing development process.

“I would be happy to discuss with Mr Shannon the basis for any concerns and address these going forward.”

Concerns had previously been raised about the safety of PSNI Mitsubishi Shoguns during an inquest into the deaths of four officers.