By Denna Bowman
Police officers have been ordered not to change flat tyres on their patrol cars and instead wait for emergency assistance to arrive.
The ban on officers replacing their flat tyres has been slammed as “ridiculous” by the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation.
The policy came to light after two officers were left waiting to be rescued for almost two hours in Surbiton, south London, when their vehicle suffered a flat tyre.
Even though there was a spare wheel and a jack in the boot, the officers were not allowed to change the tyre – instead they had to wait with the car for two hours for a breakdown van.
Peter Smyth, chairman of the Met Police Federation, said a 10-year contract had been signed by the force for its 3,600 vehicles with VT Critical Services.
Under the deal, whenever officers have a flat they are banned from changing it themselves whatever the circumstances.
“It is ridiculous,” Mr Smyth said: “To me it isn’t logical. If there’s a spare tyre in the vehicle and there’s a jack, you don’t need to be a mechanic to change the tyre.”
He added: “I’d like to see some common sense. I can understand it if the vehicle is a big three-ton prison wagon there might be some complications, but if you’re looking at an ordinary car and it’s got a spare wheel and a jack it’s simple common sense they should be able to do it themselves.
“Just to sit there by the side of the road is wasting everybody’s time.”