Two flood-damaged police cars were written off in one year, with more than $71,991 being spent on repairing vehicles in the Northland police fleet.
Figures released to the Northern Advocate under the Official Information Act reveal that last year two police cars and a speed camera van engine were beyond repair and nearly $6000 a month was spent on repairing police vehicles based in the region.
Northland police Inspector Murray Hodson said two vehicles were extensively damaged by flood waters in last year's major winter storm and an engine in one of the traffic camera vehicles was replaced due to mechanical failure.
He said Northland police vehicles were used 24/7, sometimes over difficult terrain.
Northland has a total of 143 police vehicles - 42 are based in the Whangarei and Kaipara area, while 43 are assigned to the Mid and Far North. The remainder of the 58 vehicles were centrally located and were used to meet operational requirement. The number also includes the police speed camera vans.
Nationally, there are 3200 vehicles used by police to carry out their jobs.
The statistics also show that Northland police were involved in 34 "incidents" on the road. There was no distinction between incidents that were a result of a crash or those that were deliberate, such as intentional damage to vehicles. Since 2008, to the year to date Northland coppers have been involved in 200 "incidents" involving police vehicles.
"In most instances, it is the result of fleeing driver incidents. On some occasions police vehicles get damaged when officers make mistakes, like other drivers, on the road," Mr Hodson said. It was also revealed that, since 2009 to the year to date, $514,989 has been spent on repairing Northland police vehicles. While that may seem a lot, other police districts around the country appear to have more of a repair bill.
Waitemata District topped the the list with a $1,734,429 bill and was followed by Canterbury $1,612,893, Counties Manukau $1,343,552 and Wellington $1,178, 954.
Over the past six years, Northland police have written off nine cars, but counterparts in Canterbury and Waikato have lost 14 cars each. Counties Manukau appears to be the worst, with 22 vehicles declared a "no go" for the road.
While it may have cost police to repair their own vehicles, they also had to pay out for damaging others. Since 2009, Northland police, when found to be at fault, have paid out $185,758 to other car owners - the bulk of that, $147,321, being paid in 2010. All crashes involving police staff in police cars are investigated. A supervisor is required to attend any crash which involves a police vehicle.
They are then fully investigated by a senior member of staff and the report analysed by the district's police professional driver panel.
"In the end, police are subjected to a high level of scrutiny with regard to police related driving. This is in the interests of their own and the public's safety," Mr Hodson said.