I’d be willing to bet there’s been at least once in your life when you wished you had blue lights and sirens on your car. Maybe it was just because you’d love to give a scare to that idiot who went past at 11omph. Or maybe you had to get a loved one to hospital and the traffic wasn’t in your favour.

Blue flashing light over a white background Whatever, wouldn’t it be handy? Of course to have and use blue lights you must be a trained driver responding to an incident in an official emergency vehicle. Surely?

Apparently not. According to some digging by the BBC, it turns out that, possibly as a wheeze to avoid the tax paid by everyone else on a company car, some police forces thought it would be fine to give senior civilian staff vehicles with the full nee-nahs. They don’t attract the same tax as a normal company car – though all the forces implicated say this was not why it was done…

The users weren’t trained to switch on the lights and sirens and there’s no suggestion or evidence that they ever did. But that doesn’t mean no-one was ever tempted…

Aside from the fact that I’d love a car equipped to move motoring numpties aside, it’s worth a mention here because it appears to be another example of part of the public sector shooting itself in the foot, thinking that they can get away with what the rest of us cannot. This wasn’t just one force – it was seven.

In these times of Freedom of Information requests and social media sharing of rumours and tip-offs, the only way forward, public sector or private, is scrupulous. If you can’t do that, don’t expect to be able to spin your way out of it any more.

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