SHROPSHIRE'S police force has said it is aware of reported safety issues with some of its high-powered BMW cars and is taking "urgent steps" to address them.

The problem has led to some police being told not to pursue criminals at high speeds in BMW cars, with forces up and down the country reportedly telling officers to avoid pushing the cars, and not exceed the speed limit, over safety fears.

The Northern Echo reported that Durham Police had adopted a "no pursuit policy," leaving officers "frustrated" that they cannot do their jobs properly.

A police whistle-blower shared documents from senior officers at the force which ordered traffic and firearms officers to avoid going too fast, unless there is an immediate threat to life.

West Mercia Police, which covers Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire, said that it was aware of the reported issue and was taking steps to address it.

Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Jones said: "West Mercia Police has a fleet of more than 750 vehicles.

"The BMW car fleet forms a small percentage of this and our officers can utilise a range of other vehicles meaning our operational effectiveness has been maintained.

"Work remains ongoing with our fleet department to consider longer-term options, including replacing the affected models.

“We regularly assess capability across our service to ensure we are prepared for any eventuality. The mitigations we have put in place to some of our vehicles aim to maintain our capability to pursue criminals and keep our roads and communities safe.”

Despite the reports, BMW has stressed there is no reason for concern among customers.

A statement read: "The safety of our customers and their vehicles is of utmost importance to BMW.

"We have been working with the Police for some time on a technical matter linked to a small number of special high-performance vehicles.

"This issue is associated with the particular way in which the Police operate these high-performance vehicles. This unique usage profile puts extra strain on some components and therefore BMW has specified a special servicing programme for these vehicles.

"There is no need for action on any civilian vehicles."