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Cops' company cars cut

Date: 10 December 2007   |   Author: Hugh Hunston

North Yorkshire Police Authority is disposing of 27 Land Rover Discoverys and Volvo V70s, whose use as "command platform" vehicles has been ruled as "no longer standing up to scrutiny" by its auditors.

The 27 superintendents and chief superintendents who have used the unmarked vehicles for operational and private use over the past three years, now have to opt for "Vauxhall Astra equivalent" pool cars or basic mileage allowances.

Announcing the removal of the upmarket company cars when they reach 60,000 miles, the NYPA launched a wider "value for money" review of its fleet of nearly 500 vehicles. They cover 9.9 million miles a years across England's largest single county territory covering two million acres and 6000-miles of roads. Getting rid of the 27 cars should save up to £76,761 annually, say the auditors, who found the command platform role "something of a misnomer" as officers rarely directed operations from incident scenes.

Revelations about the elite core of cars led to Phil Willis, Liberal Democrat MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, demanding the resignation of the police authority's chairman Jane Kenyon.

The decision to remove the cars was taken by chief constable Graeme Maxwell (pictured) - three years after his predecessor Della Cannings approved the purchase of what the force then claimed were "frontline" cars. Maxwell is also cutting the number of operational officers qualifying for "provided vehicles" or allowances to 16.

NYPA's vice chairman Jane Ryan said: "Mr Maxwell has decided the senior officers do not need such expensive vehicles, if they need vehicles at all. Because of the cost and depreciation they can no longer be sustained. He will consider alternatives."