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A FARE COP; Police forces splash out pounds 17m on taxis for suspects and hire cars for officers EXCLUSIVE.


POLICE have forked out pounds 17million on cabs for suspects and rental cars for staff in the past year.

The startling figure was amassed partly due to officers feeling a duty to get potential criminals home after they have been questioned.

Just 24 of the 43 constabularies in England and Wales revealed their hire vehicle costs under a Freedom of Information survey for the Daily Mirror.

It suggests the true bill for these forces could be well over pounds 30million.

London's Metropolitan Police was by far the biggest spender on vehicle rentals, laying out pounds 8.51million between 2007 and 2008. The West Midlands ran up costs of pounds 1.4million, Thames Valley pounds 1.2million, Lancashire pounds 663,000 and Norfolk pounds 512,000.

The controversial spending comes as the Home Office looks into cutting police costs and putting more cash into fighting crime on the front line.

A senior source said: "We will look at these figures very carefully."

Police justified the spending of a chunk of the pounds 17million on suspects' cabs.

They said it was to prevent the public being scared by potential criminals walking the streets.

Only two forces, Sussex and North Wales, gave specific information about cabs for people released from cells . They spent pounds 4,015 and pounds 3,096 respectively.

A North Wales police spokesman insisted they were right to pay "when the prisoner had no recognised means of transport from custody, could not arrange his or her own mode of transport and had no money".

They said they introduced the policy due to concerns that offenders leaving on foot would "lead to an increased perception of the fear of crime".


ROW Suspects get free taxis
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 10, 2009
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