AB 1 Number Plate Wrong Doing Cleared
A WATCHDOG has vindicated a police boss over the controversial sale of an historic number plate.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said there was no indication of wrongdoing in relation to the sale of 'AB1' and decided against investigating the matter.
West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion sold the plate to former Chief Constable Paul West for £160,000 in August.
However some argued that Mr Campion undersold the plate, which was the first vehicle registration number issued to the county.
The plate was also traditionally displayed on the staff cars of Worcestershire's Chief Constables.
Former Malvern councillor Clive Smith, who reported the matter to the police watchdog, said: “I’m very disappointed. At the end of the day that number plate was sold way below the market value.
“I know what those precious plates go for. It was reported there were higher offers.”
The IOPC - formerly the Independent Police Complaints Commission - decided against investigating the sale in December.
A spokesman for the watchdog said: “We have carefully assessed a referral from the West Mercia Police and Crime Panel, alongside a number of complaints, and have decided an IOPC investigation into the allegations is not required.
"It is the IOPC’s view that there was no indication of dishonesty, that relevant parties were consulted and that there was publicity in respect of the sale.
"On the information available, there is not sufficient substance to the allegations that the PCC has committed any criminal offence for the IOPC to determine that an investigation is necessary."
The spokesman added that the matter and associated complaints had been referred back to the West Mercia Police and Crime Panel.
Mr Campion previously said he has always been transparent about 'AB1', with details relating to the sale widely published.
Worcestershire was issued the 'AB1' vehicle registration in May 1903.
Mr West has promised to keep the plate within the county.
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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