Friday, 14 May 2010

Police Camper Action!

You gotta love it when a plan comes together - or whatever it was the bloke with the cigar used to say. But you have to grin when it doesn't, quite, go to plan . . .

With a top speed of just 80 mph it is more likely to cause traffic jams than strike fear into the hearts of Birmingham's hardened criminals.
But this camper van, complete with full West Midlands Police livery, has been deployed on the mean streets of Britain's second city.
Officers complain they are being openly mocked very time they are seen driving the 3.5-tonne motor home.

The five-berth Peugeot Elddis attracted curious glances when it was spotted outside the up-market Mailbox shopping centre in Birmingham this week.
It was responding to a theft at the centre's Armani store and collecting items of evidence and some stolen goods.

The Elddis usually comes complete with tasteful decor that looks more 'Butlins' than 'The Bill'.

However the force insists it is definitely not for sleeping on the job and the beds have been taken out.

Some disgruntled policemen have moaned they are more likely to raise chuckles than feel any collars in the eye-catching but unwieldy vehicle.

A source at West Midlands police said officers driving the camper van face ridicule every time they used it.

He said: 'They get mocked for driving it. When they turn up at a job people just laugh at them.

'It is supposed to be used for community events and shows but we are having to use it for responding to incidents now. No one likes having to drive it.'

The force defended the £17,000 caravan - one of five out of a total fleet of 1,600 vehicles - and stressed it was not used for emergency pursuits.

A spokesman said its extra headroom made it a 'versatile piece of kit' which can be used both for routine operations and as a 'mobile police station' where members of the public can meet officers in the community.

The spokesman said: 'West Midlands Police has an extensive fleet of vehicles, ranging from high performance cars to mobile community police stations.

'All drivers undertake relevant training, appropriate to the vehicles they are required to drive.

'Mobile community police stations such as these are not used to respond to emergency calls for help.

'They may, however, be used where deemed appropriate, by officers for conducting routine enquiries as was the case in this instance.'


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