AB 1 Private Number Reg Plate To Be Sold
THE Police and Crime Commissioner has decided to sell the first number plate issued to the county.
Retired police officers have criticised West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion for putting the registration number up for sale, claiming it is a part of West Mercia Police's heritage.
The number plate has traditionally been used by Worcestershire's Chief Constables and former officers were outraged when they saw it advertised for sale online.
Mr Campion said his decision to sell the historic vehicle registration number is part of his project to invest in frontline policing.
Retired Police Constable Paul Yarrington, aged 69, of Stourport, who served with West Mercia Police from 1968 to 2003, said: “It's like selling the crown jewels really. It's a bit of police history.
"A lot of police officers disagree [with the sale]. It was a car they all recognised and when they saw it come they would smarten themselves up as they knew it was the chief.
"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."
The former officer cited the loss of police clubs and the closure of the force's old museum in Hindlip, near Worcester, as examples of the force cutting itself off from the public.
Mr Yarrington initially worked as an officer in Stourport and then spent 27 years in the traffic department.
Andy Myers, another former West Mercia Police constable, aged 59, said: "I am totally disgusted at this.
"AB 1 was a plate we all automatically recognised on sight and adjusted our deportment appropriately, just in case it decided to stop.
"Selling AB 1 really is the scraping of the barrel bottom."
Mr Campion said: "I acknowledge that 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, particularly when they have not been used for many years.
"My priority is to ensure that those who are most vulnerable are protected, therefore a considered decision has been made to market AB 1 and any sale proceeds will be reinvested into West Mercia and frontline policing.”
The numberplate had been listed online with Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers.
But the company says it is no longer selling the item and Mr Campion's spokesman confirmed the company no longer acts for them.
The registration number was originally issued to Worcestershire's Chief Constable Herbert Sutherland Walker and used on his cars until he retired in 1931.
It was then withheld for a number of years and reissued again in 1957 to Worcestershire's Chief Constable JE Lloyd-Williams.
Vehicle registration was introduced in 1903 and it is believed AB 1 was first issued to the county in 1908.
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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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