By on September 27, 2010

I may have mentioned before (or you may have read about it) that the UK is undergoing a huge austerity program. In order to balance the UK’s books, massive spending cuts are being implemented. But in order to secure votes, the Conservative government (along with the Liberal Democrats) pledged that the NHS would not suffer these cuts in budgets. Wow! A right wing government actually PROTECTING nationalized healthcare? Those crazy Europeans! So this means that other facets of government spending are going to be hit hard. Very hard. In particular, the police. Greater Manchester Police won’t be hiring any new recruits for 2 years in order to save money. That’s how hard we’re talking. So any opportunity to save money will be welcome. Enter a bunch of South Koreans… reports that after a 2 year long process, Hyundai has now been awarded the “preferred supplier” status by the National Association of Police Fleet Managers. The new contract awarded will allow UK police forces to buy Hyundai vehicles. It’s pretty difficult not to see why the UK police force would not go with Hyundai. They’re reliable, well equipped and have that lovely 5 year warranty. But above all, they’re cheap. Which will please the UK police accountants. Tony Whitehead, Managing Director of Hyundai UK, said “Anyone buying a car needs to make sure that they are getting the best possible package for their money. That’s especially true when you are buying thousands of vehicles and spending taxpayers’ money. The quality, reliability resale value and performance of Hyundai vehicles has shone through and they’ve been given the green light to carry a blue light.” Ugh! Don’t you just hate corporate people cracking jokes?

However, there’s one group of people who won’t be happy at this decision. Workers at the Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire. You see, they make the Vauxhall Astra, which is used by Police forces currently. If, as predicted, Police forces up and down the country, start switching to Hyundais, this may cause a problem for the workers at Vauxhall. Problems like “Here’s your P45, see you later.” The country’s trade deficit widens (those Hyundais aren’t made in the UK) and the government now has more unemployed people on their books to look after in terms of unemployment benefits. But hey, at least Police forces saved a few pounds on their cars…

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22 Comments on “UK Coppers Watch Their Nickels...”

  • avatar

    So are fleet cars profitable in the UK? They are genrally disparaged on this side of the pond as last-ditch sales for less than desirable vehicles – as evidenced by the demise of the Panther Platform.

    Or is it just that unions never take market considerations into account? I suspaect the latter, if they are anything like our unions.

  • avatar

    I wonder if they could do an economic study to see what the price-differential would be between the Hoondai and the Vauxhall and see how far the extra $ spent on cars the locals make would benefit the UK.
    Not sure what the average Marginal Rate of Savings for that income bracket in the UK is, but I know ours in the US is quite low, so the follow-on effects are pretty big compared to more miserly cultures.

  • avatar

    So was Nickels mispelled on purpose?
    Nickles is the name of the bakery where I work…

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    The new Sonata would be sort of menacing in black and white with a spotlight.  And those close cut doors provide an opportunity to smash perp’s heads on them.  :P

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe in black and white, but not so much in white with blue and flourescent yellow checkerboard markings, a la here:
      I see the point about taking jobs away from Vauxhall workers, but quite often UK police forces use BMWs and Range Rovers, which I’ve never quite understood. How is a 5-series any better at catching crooks than a Vectra, Mondeo or indeed even a Sonata with a big engine and decent reliability? The extra cost surely isn’t justifiable in that sense.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Can any car look menacing in that paint job?  It’s sort of like a clown suit.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m trying to figure out whatever happened to the plan where police departments would get cheap cars if they allowed advertising along the lines of Nascar. I seem to remember something about this, but it never went anywhere.

      As for the car pictured in the link…ICK.

    • 0 avatar

      HA! Clown suit! Brilliantly put.
      Police cars over here have never really gone in for looking menacing – back in my childhood they were nicknamed Jam Sandwiches for obvious reasons:

  • avatar

    Man, I could engage in some wonderful baiting of the American right-wing and how it deals with crime and punishment thanks to this topic, but I’ll hold back and stick to just this:
    If police forces around the world can maintain fleets of cars with fragile front suspensions and they have a lower crime rate, do North American cops really need to engage in the kind of shenanigans that make ox-cart-axle-equipped cop cars a requirement?  Maybe we need a bit of a re-think, here?

  • avatar

    Oh I love the Law of Unintended Consequences!
    This story unintentionally displays the fatal flaw in all right-wing thinking. (Please, not “small-c” conservative thinking, right-wing stuff).
    Should a society save its industry (buy Vauxhalls), or save its money (buy Hyundais)? Right-wing thinking wants both: protectionism and small-spending government. See article above for why this is in conflict.
    And if you take the time to do so, you can see these fatal flaws of logic in just about all right-wing thinking.

    • 0 avatar

      Gross generalization and false dichotomy that is blind to the overarching best product/market-first tenet of right of center thinking.
      You must not get around books, speeches or the internet much outside of the Colbert clown show merchandise.
      If by ‘right wing’ you mean a union thug and loyal registered Democrat who hates “Jap stuff”, then I get your point.

  • avatar

    Hunh?  I would guess the 12 people in the US who still listen to Pat Buchanan would probably fall under your conflicted belief problem.  I guess that is why you left out small c conservatives, who are all free traders and have been since about 1954.  I would suggest that GB should slash the NHS (world’s 3rd largest bureaucracy after the Chinese Army and Indian rail system), tell Vauxhall (GM) to go to hell, and tell the police force to disinvest in the cameras. (Why do a supposedly free people tolerate those ubiquitous cameras?  Oh, that’s right you gleefully gave all your guns to the government and the criminals.) As for the cars?  Oh heck, it is a small country, how about just buying 2 door Fiestas?  Tie perps to the light poles until a paddy wagon (Ford Transit?) gets around to pick them up.   You can buy English, just skip the 4 door stuff.  See, problem solved.  As to why our police forces all need those huge cars and every two bit town has a swat team?  Got me.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, don’t forget I am excluding small-c Conservatives. I don’t want to get into it here, but that’s the big thing that today’s America is missing: a proper conservative party so the discussions can make sense.
      The right-wing I talk about is that ideology (demagoguery?) that sits between proper conservatism, and just on this side of fascism. That’s not good for anyone.
      But like I said, I don’t mean to get into this here.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey – I still like to read Pat Buchanan.  At least he is able to communicate in print.
      I thought you may have had something going that was worthwhile with the three largest bureaucracies comments – but the whole rant went off a cliff right after that.
      Conservatism in the UK is a bit more old school than it is here in the US.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    “As to why our police forces all need those huge cars and every two bit town has a swat team?  Got me.”
    Most of the time, in most places with SWAT teams, they execute home search warrants looking for marijuana. Marijuana users, by definition, are some of the least violent, least aggressive and least dangerous members of society.

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    The real, true reason that Amerikun police occifers “need” Panther or other similar police units is in order to try to intimidate the civilians “under them”. 

    Many of these people have what my (once British) wife describes as “big engine, little willy” issues.  Otherwise known as sociopathic fascist goons. 

    An (unfortunately) increasingly small minority of our police forces in the Untied Status of Amerika regards themselves as Peace Officers bound to the United States Constitution.  Sadly, a VERY tiny proportion. 

    For some reason, police (and prison) work often seems to attract the kind of sadistic and sociopathic person who generally seem as if they were always known as the school-playground bullies when they were young. 

    This unfortunately also seems to be the case in the UK and I speak from having lived there for nearly a decade, and seeing with my own eyes how the public were often treated with distain (and this problem, like the similar problem in the US and Canada, has exacerbated over the years)

    • 0 avatar

      Our streets aren’t as narrow as certain neighborhoods in the UK and police cruisers in the US cover more ground in a year.   So, which would you rather have – a sardine can or a proper taxi cab?
      Just like any other work place, there are definitely a**holes.  Police work isn’t the easiest of occupations.

  • avatar

    “Greater Manchester Police won’t be hiring any new recruits for 2 years in order to save money.”

    Makes no difference. The UK constabulary long ago ceased to enforce the law — unless, of course, the offender is a common citizen defending his home or his possessions. The concept of private property has been outlawed there, and all forms of redistribution to protected political classes are fair. Preventing said redistribution is not. The UK police have become merely a special interest group protecting their now-institutionalized right to get paid for not policing.
    By the way, the Brits deserve this sad state of affairs, and their omnipresent video cameras. They voted for it all, and their countrymen who disagreed have been emigrating in droves.

  • avatar

    LOL….the UK is a police state that can’t pay it’s police. Such poetic justice….

  • avatar

    What does this actually mean? Hyundai are now on ‘The List’. It doesn’t mean any of the BiB are going to be doing business in them. More of our boys in Vauxhalls and Jags is where I am.
    Manchester politburo just received a kicking by rejection (public ballot) of a toll road program so any cutbacks can be considered as poor planning on behalf of those who expected it to go through when no-one wanted it.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    I think buying the cops Toyota Prius’s, Smart Cars or small Kias would be good for their egos, and probably drastically improve their attitude toward the public. Put governors on the cars with a top speed of 60 mph, then they wouldn’t need the BOF monstrosities. Dock any damage to the car, justified or not, out of their pay. Require videotaping both inside and outside of the car, of every move that the cop makes. Any failure to do so would require dismissal of the charges. Hook them up to a lie detector when they testify in front of a jury, and inform the jury of the running results. Before they can use their weapons, require a warrant issued by a neutral magistrate only upon clear and convincing evidence.

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