P and J reveals top cops' vehicles deal

A Scottish police force has finally revealed details of a cash deal for top officers' company cars, after an FoI campaign by Aberdeen-based regional morning, The Press and Journal.

However, it emerges that the cut-price deal for two luxury 4×4 Range Rovers cost less than Volvos previously used by Northern Constabulary chief constable Ian Latimer and his deputy Garry Sutherland.

Scottish Information Commissioner Kevin Dunion had upheld a request by The Press and Journal to know how much the force spent on providing the Range Rovers.

The Press and Journal claimed that for the previous four years, Latimer and Sutherland had used "relatively modest" Volvo saloons.

After failing to get satisfaction from the force's press office, The Press and Journal lodged an FoI request to find out how much the force spent buying and maintaining the Range Rovers.

Northern Constabulary responded by citing two exemptions under the act, in order to withhold the information — claiming it was commercially sensitive to Land Rover UK.

However, Dunion ordered the force to reveal the information within two months or appeal to the Court of Session. This would have cost the force thousands of pounds in legal fees.

Latimer has revealed that his threelitre Range Rover cost £27,155 and his deputy's £27,750 by buying direct from the manufacturer.

Normal forecourt prices for the Range Rovers vary from £45,995 to £56,595. The Volvos had cost £27,025 and £31,576.

Press and Journal editor Derek Tucker said: "We're both delighted that the police board has finally seen sense, and disappointed that what started out as a routine enquiry had to escalate to the extent it did, through what was sheer obstinacy and bloody-mindedness."

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