Bedfordshire Police say it was unable to immediately attend a collision on Stanbridge Road, Leighton Buzzard, on Monday night because there were no officers available as they were at other incidents.
No-one was hurt in the collision involving two cars at 7.30pm, which is believed to involve a vehicle linked to a theft from a petrol station on Lake Street earlier that day.
Police are investigating the collision and the theft, they have confirmed that the driver of one of the vehicles fled the scene.
Questions were raised on social media as to why Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue were directing traffic at the scene, and not Bedfordshire Police.
A spokesperson for Bedfordshire Police said: “Each call we receive is assessed on THRIVE – Threat, Harm, Risk, Investigative opportunity, Vulnerability and Engagement and resources are allocated accordingly.
“In this instance, we had no officers immediately available to attend as they were allocated to incidents with a higher threat, harm, and risk assessment.
“The fire service attended and assisted with the management of the traffic and officers were dispatched as soon as available to recover the abandoned vehicle.
“An investigation is ongoing into both the circumstances of the collision and the theft of fuel from a petrol station in Lake Street, Leighton Buzzard.”
Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue say the two vehicle collision happened at Stanbridge Road’s junction with Lywood Road.
A spokesman for the service said: “Firefighters from Leighton Buzzard attended the scene, no-one was trapped or injured. The crew made the vehicles safe and moved them to a safe location.”
Anyone with information about either the collision or the theft is asked to contact police on 101 quoting reference number 376 of 2 October.
Ten minutes before the collision on Stanbridge Road police attended a collision involving three vehicles in Vandyke Road, Leighton Buzzard.
One person sustained minor injuries and was transported to hospital for treatment.