This story was published on February 18, 2014, and was based on a Freedom of Information request to all of the UK’s police forces.
Police in Britain spend millions of taxpayer’s money on fleets of unmarked cars including sports cars.
Officers and administrative staff drove around in Audis, BMWs and Jaguars on the job, some of which were bought by their respective forces brand new.
Freedom of Information requests by MailOnline have revealed that West Midlands Police were the biggest spenders, forking out more than £4million on undercover cars in the last three years.
THE BIG SPENDERS IN THE LAST THREE YEARS (BY FORCE)
West Midlands – £4,493,889
Lancashire – £2,027,986
Surrey – £1,504,654
Wiltshire – £1,009,740
Hampshire – £1,653,054
Kent and Essex – £1,221,893
Merseyside – £1,229,930
Greater Manchester – £1,999,842
Their fleet included a Jaguar XF 4 and an Audi A6, both of which cost more than £30,000 when bought new.
Surrey Police were the fourth biggest spenders, forking out £1,504,654 on their vehicles, which included a BMW X5 and Audi A6.
Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘The police budget should be spent fighting crime, not on swanky motors for chief constables.
‘Forces need performances cars for undercover work but that’s not a reason to buy them for those spending their life behind a desk.
‘Axing flash run-arounds for police chiefs is a simple way to save taxpayers’ money while protecting front line policing.’
Andy Kelly, West Midlands Police’s Head of Fleet Services, said: ‘When we buy vehicles we are required to follow Home Office vehicle acquisition frameworks, which are in place nationally.
‘Vehicles are put forward for consideration then assessed on ‘”fitness for purpose” and cost effectiveness. Following this process, awards are then made to manufacturers.
‘Additionally we have saved more than £1million per annum by purchasing our own internal fleet of vehicles for short term hire use as opposed to going to the external hire market place.’
A spokesman for Surrey Police: ‘Vehicles used in Surrey Police are purchased through a National Contract managed by the Home Office.
‘Each model has to meet to meet nationally agreed minimum criteria for performance, load carrying, road holding and emissions for the roles they undertake.
‘The criteria for the number and type of unmarked vehicles, used by the Force, are based purely on operational requirements to meet a given role.
‘Like all forces, to be effective a cross section of unmarked models are required to meet the operational need, whilst being representative of the vehicles used by the general public.
‘Going forward, Surrey and Sussex police forces have set up a Joint Transport Service to combine their vehicle fleets.
‘This will pool resources; reduce the overall number of vehicles for a given role; reduce the amount of capital spending required, therefore resulting in an efficient, cost effective and sustainable transport service for both forces.’