Fleet managers in the Midlands claim to have been asked to pay £500 by the police in order to guarantee the recovery of a vehicle. After reporting the theft of a company car, sources say the police use informers to locate the vehicle. Officers contact the vehicle's insurer to advise them that they knew of the car's whereabouts, but in order to secure its return the informer would need to be paid. Each police force has a budget for such a purpose, but they often ask insurance companies to contribute.
Fleet managers, however, say they have been contacted directly by officers and paid for the return of vehicles. The senior police source said: 'Asking for money to pay an informant is quite legitimate inasmuch as a registered informant, who is closely monitored, gives information so that high value property is recovered. It's a way of recouping costs. There is nothing underhand going on.'