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.
The UK in particular has a relationship with personalised number plates. According to estimates by the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency), the UK reported an excess of two billion pounds in tax revenue from tax auctions over the past 25 years. As they are keen to state, an expression of interest in a particular plate by three people or more is enough to push the price of that Reg plate through the roof. It has also been documented that the buyers let their hearts take control of their heads when they bid for these plates.
Personalised number plate auctions are constantly rewriting the record books with regard to the highest price paid for a plate. The record currently stands at £518,000 which is quite impressive. The prices of these Regplates does not seem to be slowing down either.
Of particular interest is the recent auction of the highly-hyped 250 C Reg plate which sold for £21,500. This is a clear indication that the expectations for the prices of personalised number plates will continue to increase.
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