June 22, 2024

Freedom of Information request shows police misfuelled vehicles 300 times in 2017

Have you ever experienced that feeling of illness when you mistakenly fill your car with the wrong type of fuel? It might bring you some relief to know that police officers made the same error nearly 300 times last year. What’s more, these misfuelling incidents cost police forces across the UK over £50,000 in repairs.

Out of the 45 police forces in the UK, 33 confessed to covering repair costs for misfuelling incidents in 2017, with an average expense of £178 per occurrence. According to information revealed after a Freedom of Information request, West Midlands Police had the highest number of misfuelling incidents, with 66 mistakes costing a total of £3,737. The Metropolitan Police misfuelled vehicles 49 times, resulting in repair costs of £17,589.57, while Police Scotland had 16 misfuelling incidents that cost £2,004.92.

Remarkable Number of Misfuelling Cases

John O’Connell from the TaxPayers’ Alliance commented, “It is remarkable that such a simple mistake is being made almost daily. This careless behavior demonstrates a lack of consideration for the taxpayers who fund their salaries and bear the cost of repairs. Millions of individuals manage to refuel their own vehicles with care—police officers should show the same level of attention to their vehicles.” Gary Mallett, fleet manager at West Midlands Police, indicated that mistakes increased after 2013 due to a cost-cutting move away from internal fuel sites and fuel keys to external fuel stations. misfuelled vehicles

Small Proportion of Misfuelling Incidents

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police stated that, since 2008, their vehicles had been refuelled 1.5 million times, and misfuelling incidents represented a small fraction. The spokesperson added, “The Met Police Service operates a fleet with a mix of petrol, diesel, hybrid, and electric vehicles. The rate of misfuelling is decreasing annually. We ensure that each vehicle clearly indicates the required fuel on fuel flaps and in vehicle log books. As misfuelling incidents are quite common, it’s reassuring to know that you can protect yourself in case of misfuelling for just £12.99 with a policy from Adrian Flux.


Q: How can misfuelling be prevented?

A: Double-check the fuel type before refuelling your vehicle and ensure the correct fuel is selected.

Q: What should I do if I accidentally misfuel my vehicle?

A: Do not start the engine, contact a mechanic immediately, and have the fuel tank drained.


Misfuelling incidents among police vehicles are not only costly but also preventable. By taking simple precautions and being attentive during refuelling, these mistakes can be minimized, saving both money and resources for police forces. It is essential for all vehicle operators, including police officers, to exercise care and follow proper fueling procedures to avoid unnecessary expenses and disruptions.

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