POLICE officers in Hounslow have cost tax payers more than £5,000 since 2007 by putting the wrong type of fuel in patrol cars.
An FOI by The Chronicle can reveal that since 2007 there have been 14 filling station faux-pas by officers – and local residents are footing the repair bills.
Over the last three years, Hounslow police cars have guzzled 550,194 litres of fuel.
There are currently 41 police vehicles being operated by Hounslow Borough.
In 2007/08, of the 4,731 tanks filled, there were seven instances of the cars being wrongly fuelled costing a whopping £2,810 to fix.
This was followed by six incidents in 2008/09 of the 4,574 tanks filled, setting the force back by £2,095.
So far this year, just one car has been damaged by the mistake costing £295 to rectify.
The total bill comes in at £5,200.
The news has been met with outrage from The TaxPayers’ Alliance.
Chief executive, Matthew Elliott, said: “This is an unacceptable bill for taxpayers to be left with for what is an easily preventable mistake. If someone puts the wrong fuel in a police force car then they should pay for their mistake, not pass the cost on to the public.
“Most companies that have cars used by their staff simply put a sticker on the fuel-cap directing which fuel to use, this is a simple and effective way to reduce the number of mix ups and it’s hard to believe the MET haven’t done this.”
Steve Godbald, from Chris M Motor Co based Hounslow Gardens, said: “I would have thought the police would be more informed than that but they are jumping from car to car and you know how it is when your mind is wandering. It’s easily done, but I can’t say I have ever drained a police car.”
“We used to be situated in Brentford right next to a petrol garage and we used to get more of it then. It all depends on which way round it has been done and whether or not the car has been started. A lot of the garages didn’t stick to green and black and started using other colours and I think that has confused people.”
Police spokesman Manpreet Bains said: “Hounslow Police have taken a number of steps to reduce these incidents, these include regular reminder and training for staff and better labelling of fuel caps on vehicles.
“Due to the unique demand placed on us, Police operate a mixed fleet of vehicles. There were seven instances of incorrect fuelling in 2007/2008 and this was reduced to only one incident in 2009/2010. This represent 0.001% of visits during the year.”
Taken from Hanworth Chronicle