A CRIME commissioner has responded to criticisms over her use of a police car after her own vehicle suffered a flat tyre.

The Police and Crime Panel investigated an anonymous complaint that North Yorkshire police and crime commissioner Julia Mulligan borrowed a police pool car which was not returned until two days later, causing officers to hire a replacement car.

Mrs Mulligan's own car broke down with a flat tyre on October 23 last year and she borrowed the police vehicle to reach a meeting with senior police followed by a public crime meeting in Scarborough. The unmarked car was not a patrol car.

Her office said she was insured.

Mrs Mulligan insisted suggestions that her use of a pool car had interfered with the work of the police were “simply untrue” and  that “correct procedures were followed”.

“On the day in question, I arrived for a board meeting, attended by the most senior officers of North Yorkshire Police. Cancelling the meeting because of a flat tyre would have been a huge waste of senior officer time, travel and a great deal of taxpayers’ money,” she said.

“I would also have disappointed over 80 people in Scarborough, who had travelled to see me at a public meeting about local crime concerns later that day.

“The pool car was unmarked and is intended for staff and officers – from North Yorkshire Police or my own office - to attend meetings, rather than for officers to respond to incidents or go out on patrol.”

North Yorkshire county councillor Carl Les, chairman of the police and crime panel, said the panel’s sub-committee had investigated the complaint and reported “that there was nothing in the rules or regulations to stop her doing it”.

But the committee conceded “minor changes” would be made to the way vehicles are used.

Chief Constable Dave Jones said the incident “had no impact on operational policing whatsoever”.