According to statistics following a Freedom Of Information Request by the Press Association, 33 out of the 45 forces in the UK had at least one instance of officers putting the wrong fuel in their patrol car.
The average cost of repair is £178, with officers in the West Midlands Police racking up the most errors with 66 cases, with repairs costing a total of 3,737.
London’s Metropolitan Police didn’t fare much better with 49 such mistakes and repair bills costing over £17k.
Chief Exec of the TaxPayers’ Alliance John O’Connell said: “It’s staggering that such a simple mistake is being made almost daily.
“This careless attitude shows a lack of respect for those same taxpayers who both pay their wages and are forced to pay for the repairs.
“Millions of people manage this task with their own cars by taking a modicum of care – police officers should extend the same courtesy to their vehicles.”
Figures obtained through previous research by AutoExpress show that between 2011 and 2016 police forces across the country spent a staggering £400,000 on repairing refuelling mistakes.
According to West Midlands Police fleet manager Gary Mallet, the number of errors increased when they moved away from centralised, internal fuel sites to external stations as part of a cost-cutting exercise.
“We saw a major spike in the number of misfuels in 2013-14 and addressed this by notifying users and local vehicle leads of the volume and cost of the mistake.”
“We also labelled all vehicles with the fuel type as a reminder of the correct fuel that should be used.
“This has had a positive effect, with around a 53 percent reduction in the number of misfuels, but more importantly around a 90 percent reduction in actual cost of repairs. We put out regular reminders to staff, and this is continuing to have an impact on reducing the problem.”
Not all forces managed to get it wrong, though. Both Greater Manchester Police and Northern Ireland Police made no errors – but they do use bunkered fuel sites with pre-programmed keys to ensure the correct type of fuel is dispensed.
The City of London Police, Durham, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Dyfed-Powys forces also made no refuelling errors.