The UK Police Federation has reported that cars without sirens have been used by the West Midlands force to respond to emergencies. Unfortunately, these cars have to obey speed limits and all other rules of the road, leading to delays in response times. The Federation blames cost-cutting.
Expensive radios are also in increasingly short supply. Patrols operating within one mile of the police station are now using two cans joined by string to communicate with the dispatchers, although teething problems have been experienced, not least the tendency for the patrols to move in a circular pattern around the station.
Other cutbacks include police officers wearing their own clothes to work. They are encouraged to be ‘smart casual’, although they do have ‘dress down’ Fridays when they can wear jeans. This is useful if they are trying to blend in with revellers at the start of a weekend. Due to confusion over which officers are ‘uniform’ and which are ‘plain clothes’, however, the force is thought to be looking into the costs of having T-shirts printed with the slogan, “I’m PC”.