The Police and Crime Panel have investigated an anonymous complaint claiming that the North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Julia Mulligan, had stopped officers from working by taking a police vehicle to travel from Harrogate to Scarborough for a pre-planned meeting.
The Police and Crime Panel is totally independent of the Police and Crime Commissioner and oversees their work.
The Commissioner had arrived at work on the 23 October 2013 and noticed a flat tyre on her vehicle. Through a busy day of a number of meetings, it was not possible to have the tyre fixed and a pool car was used instead.
The vehicle was an unmarked 62 reg Vauxhall Corsa.
Due to a complaint received, the Police and Crime Panel were obliged to investigate the incident.
The anonymous complaint alleged:
A couple of months ago police commissioner Julia Mulligan’s car broke down. Instead of getting it fixed or arranging for a hire car, she took a police car for a week instead. This caused problems as I was told the car had been booked by people to use. As a result they had to change there arrangements which cost the police money. Why should she get to use a police car as her own personal car? It made me angry when I heard.
I also wander whether she is insured to drive a police car. Isn’t she independent of the police? I think I may have as much right as her to drive a police car!
The pool car was needed at 7am the following morning. Due to an oversight, the Crime Commissioner returned it after that time necessitating the hiring of an additional vehicle.
- The vehicle did not take police officers off patrol, as it is not a patrol vehicle, but instead a civilian police car that would be used by back-office staff to attend meetings
- The police have contracts in place with vehicle hire companies so that vehicles can be booked at reasonable costs. Indeed, this usually works out cheaper for longer journeys than paying mileage on a privately owned vehicle. There are admin staff who book the vehicles, so booking vehicles did not place any administrative burden on officers.
Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, said: Reports that suggest my using a pool car in some way interfered with the work of the police are simply untrue.
On the day in question, I arrived for a board meeting, attended by the most senior officers of North Yorkshire Police. Cancelling the meeting because of a flat tyre would have been a huge waste of senior officer time, travel and a great deal of taxpayers’ money.
I would also have disappointed over 80 people in Scarborough, who had travelled to see me at a public meeting about local crime concerns later that day.
The pool car was unmarked and is intended for staff and officers – from North Yorkshire Police or my own office – to attend meetings, rather than for officers to respond to incidents or go out on patrol. The correct procedures were followed, everyone got to the meetings they needed to attend, and all at less cost to the public purse than would have resulted from a mileage claim for my private vehicle.
Chief Constable Dave Jones said: The use of the pool car and hire had no impact on operational policing whatsoever.