Police spend £18million on unmarked cars

Jaguar XF front tracking
21 Feb, 2014 11:09am Chris Ebbs

Jaguar XF, Audi A6 and BMW X5 among the luxury cars paid for by taxpayers

Police forces in the UK have spent £18million on unmarked police cars, with executive models including the likes of the Jaguar XF, Audi A6 and BMW X5 arriving on police fleets.

A Freedom of Information request by the Daily Mail found that the West Midlands force had spent the most on their cars with £4,493,889 used to buy high performance and luxury models over the past three years.

Lancashire police force came in second with a total of £2,027,986 on their unmarked cars, while Greater Manchester had splashed out £1,999,842 and Hampshire had spent £1,653,054.

High performance vehicles used by office and admin staff

The vehicles weren’t just the used for high-speed pursuits, instead some of them were being used by office and admin staff for non-emergency situations.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, 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.”

However, Andy Kelly, West Midlands Police’s Head of Fleet Services, explained: “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."

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i live in west midlands how can they justify spending 4.4mill on undercover cars, London met don't even spend that much on there's, insane, just another reason not to trust police especially if he pulls you over in a jag

I hate the thought of them driving around in executive cars but its Not strictly true my estimation of this is due to the residual value of the vehicles they have chosen make them a better option than buying cheaper cars as they will get more of a return on their money when they are due to be de-fleeted in 2-3 years time, hence the reason Volvo police cars are a thing of the past and lots of constabularies have opted for silver cars over white......

If a police officer pulls you over, regardless of whether he's driving a 35k Jag, a 35k Skoda or a 35K Audi, he didn't purchase it himself, so why wouldn't you trust him or her?! If you get pulled over, you obviously intravened a law, and it is their duty to stop you. People don't realise that the undercover cars are also used for many other duties than just patrolling motorways.Sometimes they are used to catch inconsiderate motorists speeding in 30mph limits, where 'I'm only 5mph over the limit' actually can mean the difference between someone living or dying after being hit!

What does "intravened" mean?

My mistake, contravened, not intravened.

You don't really believe that do you? My friend is black they stop him because he is black he has no points, no convictions, full license, insurance and tax, he drives a 1.6 golf and they have stoped him 3 times this year and once with me inside and they said it didn't concern me as i wasn't the problem that's uk police force for you. Again tho the point of the article is 4.4mil spent on cars for police force members who shouldn't be driving them and so just another reason not to trust of believe the police propaganda

Do you really think a Police boss would allow his chariot to be used by the plebeians (and no - that is not an offensive or rude word - look it up) to use for general patrol? No way, be sure that most of these vehicles will be sat in the bosses home drive and driven by their women. The Police do need fast cars and they tend to be the luxury variety and some of them will indeed become every day work horses. But mainly these will be the perk or luxury given to these 'essential users' for their personal use. Neither forget the discounts that many of these 'luxury' vehicle makers give to Police forces for the advertising return they obtain.
It used to be (an probably still is) that the return finance for expired Police vehicles is retained by the Home Office and not the individual Police Force so depreciation values are wholly discounted in any choice of vehicle or colour. It does not pay the Police to maintain their vehicles in a pristine condition but they tend to keep them looking well for the 'Public Image' factor.
This spend is simply another abuse of Public money by the Police.

I am not often motivated to comment on an article, but some comments have incensed me. I happen to know that the deal that West Mids Police were offered on a fleet of Jaguar XF's would have actually meant they would have been cheaper to buy than the current fleet of Vauxhall Insignia's they are now forced to drive (with all the relentless electrical faults the Insignia's have), but aware of the "image" that might portray to the public opted to go for the more socially acceptable Vauxhall at a greater cost to our taxpayer pockets. I am also sure the Jag's would have a much better residual value. Beware before you criticise the police for what they drive, a lot of time and consideration has already to the decision. CMPG covers over 400 miles of our motorways and undercover cars are essential to their work, which includes the need for performance cars to catch the criminals. Why does this mean that we shouldn't trust the police?

No reason at all why they cant drive a Vauxhall or Ford, it angers me seeing Police driving around in BMW's etc

Audi lover,

You say your friend is stopped "because he is black". How do you know this?

Perhaps it's something to do with his driving? Has your friend has his driving independently assessed since he passed his test?

Police cars used for traffic work need to be fast and handle safely.

Police officers will spend entire shifts in their cars so the cars need to be comfortable and prevent fatigue and backache.

Police cars need to be cost effective.

It would appear from the report above that the Daily Mail made no effort to assess the discounts, etc. given by the car makers. But chances are the 'posh' cars remain cost effective. BMWs, for example, hold their value well and consequently are frequently offered to company car drivers alongside Ford and Vauxhall.

And check the prices offered by car leasing firms - I saw a BMW for not much more than a Toyota Aygo just recently!

Hes 32 like me had a clean license for 6 years had held it for 11 and they stopped us as we were getting back in to the vehicle after visiting our local Argos so had nothing to do with his driving (he has a brand new 1.6 golf)nothing special when i asked what the problem was they said that it didn't have any thing to do with me then they quizzed him for 10 mins, hes told me its the 3rd time this year, its obvious to any one they just don't think he should be capable of owning a brand new ride like that with out doing something illegal, its racial profiling and its disgusting

Does not surprise me one bit!

This is clearly a government failure in not monitoring the major purchasing budgets of the police authorities!

We see it everyday as the flashy expensive foreign built Police patrol cars on our roads are flaunted in front of our poor workers and taxpayers eyes!

All these police authorites should be ashamed of themselves wasting taxpayers money that pay for all this in difficult economic times like this - and the appropiate responsible government heads at the Home Office should be at least severely censured and reprimanded!

The glib statement of Andy Kelly, West Midlands Police’s Head of Fleet Services:
“When we buy vehicles we are required to follow Home Office vehicle
acquisition frameworks, which are in place nationally" - is simply not true!

It would mean that none of the hundreds of thousands of vehicles built in Britain annually are suitable for use as police patrol duties in Britain? Whos kidding who here?

This is the old excuse trotted out each time queried that our police must have these expensive BMW and Volvo patrol cars to meet their specific area police requirements! This is a load of nonsense but the official purchase inquiries put out to tender are so contrived by the specifiers that only their choice - BMW or Volvo - meets these specifications.

In fact these tenders are often the result of conspiring by the responsible specifiers in the police authorities with the actual sales managers of the suppliers. This in turn means favours are often given but indirectly for these manipulations leading to annual new orders!

That is why you very rarely see British built police patrol cars being used by police authorities in Britain! But conversly cars built in Britain such as Ford, GM Opels, Hondas, Nissans are often used as police patrol vehicles in other countries without any problems!

These same expensive BMW or Volvo police cars are not used for example in Germany except in areas where the cars are actually built! Examples are Baveria with BMW & AUDI and Wolfsburg for VW etc.

The normal everyday police patrol cars are Ford, OPEL or VW - built in Germany! And strangely they have no problems using them for police duties!

I believe a public investigation into these friendly arrangements of police authorities with car importers
would reveal anomalies that must be corrected and save the taxpayers millions and give more work to British factories!

Over to you Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance - go and speak to David Cameron and demand an official inquiry! I believe its time this all is investagated as its costing the taxpayers literally millions!

Maybe because BMW's are better in every conceivable way than Fords or Vauxhalls and they don't really cost any more.

And if that get's you angry, for the sake of your health I recommend you don't go to Dubai. The police there drive Bugattis, Lambos and Ferraris.

However, Andy Kelly, West Midlands Police’s Head of Fleet Services, explained: “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."

And then the manufacturers show their gratitude with rewards for the great specifications the specifiers have come up with!

Stop fiddling and put British police requirements out to EU public tender as required by the EU!

This is not true about residual value. These cars whether BMW or Ford are worn out when being disposed of!

And the taxpayer loses out again because the value of the BMWs is not much more than the Fords in spite of having a) Cost more to buy and b) Cost a damn sight more to operate and maintain!

If Germany has no problem operating large fleets of normal police cars how come our Home Office have a problem?

Its the favours and backhanders that influences the choice of police fleet buying - as simple as that!

Make a strandard police car specification and put the buying out to public tender!

I'm black and I've never been stopped whilst driving in 20 years.

So your saying it doesn't happen and my mate must be dodge, fine

My force had the chance to have bmw 1 series diesels with stop start technology, good mpg and excellent build quality cheaper than a Vauxhall astra! However we have astras which are past their best by 80k and have to run until 130k+. We are also now running a number of corsas which are too small and not fit for purpose. All this because the force was scared of public reaction to perceived luxury status of bmw instead of coming out and saying hey look at this great deal we got for your taxpayer bucks!

My force had the chance to have bmw 1 series diesels with stop start technology, good mpg and excellent build quality cheaper than a Vauxhall astra! However we have astras which are past their best by 80k and have to run until 130k+. We are also now running a number of corsas which are too small and not fit for purpose. All this because the force was scared of public reaction to perceived luxury status of bmw instead of coming out and saying hey look at this great deal we got for your taxpayer bucks!

BMWs better than Ford? Utter drivel. In recent years Ford have found that elusive balance of providing a fantastic driving experience with practicality and reliability. BMW s are good but not that good. They sell because of snob value and good emissions meaning company car drivers mitigate their tax bill. I own a company with a fair size fleet and I have a wide choice. Over the years I have run 3 and 5 series BMW and each one had reliability issues. I tried a Ford Mondeo estate and have never looked back. I've had three and not one has had any reliability issues plus it's a better drive than the 530d I had previously. I also run a Focus ST estate which has raised the bar again. I don't mind my reps and middle managers driving BMW if that floats their boat but there are better drives out there including Ferrari and Lambos and if the economy can support it, why not.

You are juvenile, stupid and wrong. Sat is grammatically wrong. You should have written 'sitting'. Learn English tenses. The Post above yours is accurate. Vauxhalls' are simply not up to the job and long term are more expensive to operate.

My friend got stopped by the police because he was white ... there maybe a few unwanted bad examples in the police force, but remember they are just doing a job and they are not racist!

Quit playing the race card ... I'm white and the police stopped me a lot when I was young..They didnt stop me because I was white they stopped me because as soon as I saw a police car or officer I looked nervous ... other times because my bad driving LOL... The police are not racist my friend they are just looking for people who are braking the law be they Black, white or blue with pink dots

i have great respect for real undercover police, who actually drive around in plain clothes and unmarked cars to solve real crime - if they drive around in a lamborghini, thats okay by me, as i've found them to be the most balanced & understanding guys in the force. If everyone in the office, who is not involved in frontline crime fighting starts driving a 30k car then its not acceptable.

To all commenters:

BMW's are not posh. They are very common.

The money isn't the main issue here. I think it's scandelous that the Home Office fill their catalogues with Cars that are not manufactured in Britain. There is no place for over priced and unreliable German cars...they are not manufactured in Britain. Jaguar, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Land Rover should be exclusively on this list as they contribute to the British economy. You can't blame the Police, they choose what is available to them.....but come on Britain, help yourself for God's sake.

For every X5 and XF, there are a dozen base-spec Astras and Focii.

AEX 1,341
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