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Police's petrol bill could see officers back on beat

Rocketing fuel prices could have an unexpected side effect - more police patrolling our streets.

ROCKETING fuel prices could have an unexpected side effect - more police patrolling our streets.

Enquiries by the Gazette have revealed that Hillingdon police have had to fork out £190,158 on fuel in the last year, a 25 per cent increase on the previous year.

The price has forced senior officers to look at ways to cut non-essential police journeys in a bid to balance the books.

And one option being considered is to have more police officers patrolling on foot instead of behind the wheel.

The petrol price figures have been revealed exclusively to the Gazette under the Freedom of Information Act.

Chief Inspector Maurice Hartnett said: "The use of vehicles is an integral part of our patrol strategy for this borough, responding to emergency calls and reducing crime.

"The increase in fuel prices has meant that our operating costs have increased.

"The knock on effect is injudicious use of vehicles needs to be avoided.

"Through our fleet management procedures we also identify fuel retailers that offer the best value in order to keep costs down."

Already this year, between the months of April and June, the police have spent £49,451, which gives an estimated record fuel spend for this financial year.

One result of the fuel prices is that the cars may not be able to patrol for as long as they once did, leading to a welcome increase in police walking the streets.

Mr Hartnett added: "We are no different to anybody else, the more fuel prices go up, we have to look at potential for making cuts elsewhere as we have to balance the books.

"We could have more people on foot patrol as the essential part is emergency response, every other use of vehicles would become questionable."

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