AB 1 Number Plate Sells For 160k
Paul West, who retired from the force in 2011, was the last chief constable to use the number plate AB1 on his car.
Last month it was revealed that West Mercia police and crime commissioner John Campion had put the registration number up for sale to raise money for police funds.
Mr Campion said the plate had not been used for six years for security reasons, and said the force was unlikely to use it on any of its cars in future.
But the decision to sell the number sparked an angry backlash from several former police officers, including Alan Matthews, who launched a petition against the sale
Mr Matthews' online petition attracted 895 supporters.
Mr Campion said he hoped the sale to Mr West, who planned to keep the number plate in the force area, and work with other former colleagues to raise awareness about its history, would reassure those concerned about the sale.
AB1 was the first number plate to ever be issued in Worcestershire and was used by chief constables for the area until 2011.
Mr Campion said: “The local history of AB1 was always secure come what may, but sadly it was clear we were never going to see it in use again.
“This sale achieves a significant amount of money towards policing our communities and keeping people safe. It also means AB1 retains a good link with West Mercia’s policing family and remains a part of the local landscape”.
Mr West, 59, served as chief constable for eight years.
He said: “I am well aware of the acute financial pressures being faced by the police service at present, so whilst it’s not a decision that I would have wanted to make, I completely understand why the commissioner chose to sell an asset like this, especially when it had been out of use for so long. "However, my family and I didn’t want AB1 simply to be lost to somebody with no connection to policing or to Worcestershire and never to be seen again.”
“I do intend to use the number plate on a car and am committed to keeping AB1 in Worcestershire during my lifetime. I
"I’d also like to make sure that its story remains accessible to local communities.
"I am planning to work with several former colleagues who had an even longer association with AB1 than I, to create some historic displays about the number plate’s unique history, which we intend to offer to local museums and libraries in Worcestershire.”
How close a series of letters or numbers are to a real name of word: if the match quality is high (and the numbers and letters are very convincing in making a popular word), the value of the registration plate will be higher. This means that a match like 5IMON, for the name Simon, will be worth a lot more than a more obscure set of letters and numbers that are not as convincing a match, such as S17 MMM for the name Sam.
The style of the plate: this means establishing if it is a new-style plate, an older-style format or if it is dateless or Irish, for instance. Other options are that it is a prefix-style plate or a suffix-style plate. New-style number plates, which have been produced since 2001, tend to be the least valuable because they are a bit less appealing to some collectors, plus the rule about not having plates that are newer than your car can also come into play, putting people off from buying a newer-style plate for their older car. Prefix-style number plates, which were in production between 1983 and 2001 can be more popular as more vehicles are entitled to have those licence numbers, and they may have fewer characters in total. Suffix-style plates, issued from 1963 to 1983 are relatively rare, which means they can attract higher prices than prefix-style plates and newer designs. Dateless number plates, also known as cherished number plates, were produced between 1903 and 1963 and are nearly always the most valuable number plate configurations; they have fewer digits and their dateless nature means that people can hide the age of their car. Irish number plates are similar to dateless number plates, especially because they don’t have a year identifier. They also tend to be cheaper than other types of vehicle registration plates.
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