TWO police trade unions, the SPPLB and the SPPM have criticised the condition of Elche’s police car fleet after one caught fire earlier this week, nearly killing two police officers.
The fire occurred shortly after 9.00am on Tuesday morning as the officers concluded the school support service and headed to the hamlet of Atzavares.
They began to smell gas and smoke began to billow from the car.
Within seconds, the car was engulfed in flames and the officers were unable to extinguish the fire with their extinguisher, calling for assistance from firefighters.
The car was completely incinerated.
The SPPLB and the SPPM say this incident brings light to a serious problem – some of Elche’s police cars should have been replaced years ago, with a number of them exceeding 700,000 miles on the clock.
Councillor Jose Perez has hit back, confirming that there are 13 new police cars on order to arrive at the end of this month, but the unions say that these vehicles were ordered last year and the time that it has taken for the process to be completed could have cost the two officers their lives.
The unions also say that the needs of Elche’s police go beyond its fleet of cars – officer’s uniforms having not been replaced for two years and one officer even reporting having had to stick his boots together with tape whilst he waited weeks for a new pair.