AB 1 Number Plate Regplates Sale Opinion In The Daily Mail
A police chief has sparked a row by selling one of Britain's most valuable car number plates.
West Mercia Police hope to raise up to £250,000 by auctioning the registration number AB 1.
Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion will put the money towards front line policing and it could pay for 12 new constables for a year.
But retired officers have launched a campaign to stop the sale saying the force is selling off its 'crown jewels'.
More than 700 people have signed a petition urging the force to keep the historic plate, first issued in 1908 and used on the official cars of the Worcestershire Chief Constable.
Experts say its value is increased because there is documentation to show it's only ever had one owner.
Mr Campion said: 'A considered decision has been made to market AB 1. The sale proceeds will be reinvested towards frontline policing in West Mercia.
'My priority is to ensure that those who are most vulnerable are protected and that West Mercia is a safe place. The public expect that I effectively use the assets at my disposal to do this.'
The registration number, unused for six years, is up for auction with a guide price of £175,000 but is expected to go for a lot more.
Mr Campion added: 'The prospect of a Chief Constable or any public servant using a private number plate belongs in a time gone by, both for security reasons and public expectation.
'I acknowledge there is history associated with this registration number, however it is right that we utilise the assets we have to support policing in our area.'
Ironically, the initials of current chief constable Anthony Bangham coincide with the number plate.
Former officers were outraged by the sale and have urged the Police and Crime Commissioner to have a rethink.
Retired Worcester policeman Paul Yarrington said: 'It's like selling the crown jewels really. It's a bit of police history.
'Thousands of officers, if you asked them what AB 1 was, they could say it's the chief's car. I was disgusted when I saw it for sale.
'There's at least 19 cars I know it's been on. There's no sense of history now. I get the feeling the force is alienating itself against the public.'
Vehicle registration was introduced in 1903 and AB 1 was first plate issued in Worcestershire in 1908.
John Cherry, director of regplates.com, said: 'AB 1 is a bit special because it's never come up for sale before.
'It's a piece of motoring history and I would expect it to go for in the region of £250,000.
'It is an original issue which puts another 25 per cent on the value - there will be a lot of interest in it.'
Other rules regarding the registration transfer process that you have to be aware of are concerned with road tax. To start with, the DVLA will not transfer a registration number to a vehicle that is not taxed. Usually, this means the vehicle receiving the registration number must be taxed, although you can still apply for the transfer and include an application for road tax at the same time.
The vehicle that currently has the registration number could have a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) instead of road tax, however, the SORN must be less than 12 months old (i.e. you can’t transfer a registration number from a vehicle that has had two or more SORNs in a row), and the vehicle must not have any breaks in its road tax record, i.e. a period of time when it had neither road tax nor a SORN.
If your SORN doesn’t meet any of these conditions, you will have to get road tax for the vehicle before you can transfer the registration.
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