Crime tsar’s car was seized from drug dealer

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West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has been given a car seized from a drug dealer, instead of a taxpayer-funded company car, in a bid to save money.

Mark Burns-Williamson’s office was given the Audi A4 for professional use after winning the first Police and Crime Commissioner elections in November.

The news comes as West Yorkshire’s senior officers look set to be forced to give up the prestige vehicles that up to now have been part of their remuneration packages.

The force was spending more than £286,000 a year on top-of-the range models for the six members of the command team and its counter-terrorism chief – at an average of over £40,000 per car.

They included a luxury Jaguar XF, two BMW X5s, a BMW 535, two Audis and a Lexus 450H.

But, as the force seeks to save £140m, Chief Constable Mark Gilmore – appointed to replace Sir Norman Bettison in February – has warned his fellow top officers they must tighten their belts.

A West Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “The provision of fleet vehicles is currently being reviewed by the chief officer team.

“Chief Constable Mark Gilmore said as part of the force’s efficiency savings everyone is having to make adjustments and changes were also being made at a senior level as well as across the force.”

Mr Burns-Williamson said it was important that officers of all ranks demonstrated that they were contributing to cost-saving.

He said a decision was made to give his office a car seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act as a way to cut back. The six-year-old Audi is used by other members of staff as well as him.

“Re-using the vehicle saves the office a significant amount of money which would otherwise be incurred through business mileage claims or the commercial hire of vehicles,” he said.

“This forms part of ongoing efficiency savings to ensure we continue to cost the public less than the previous police authority.”