Lancashire police has spent more than £500,000 on private hire cars in the past financial year, new figures have revealed.
Lancashire Constabulary was the biggest spender in the North West, splashing out £529,285 on the cars from April 2015 to March 2016, according to the Home Office.
They were followed by Cheshire, who spent £209,474, and Merseyside, who spent £206,084.
Cumbria Constabulary splurged £164,302 on private hire cars, while Greater Manchester Police forked out £87,411 over the same period.
In total the five forces spent £1,196,556, according to the figures, which were revealed in a parliamentary question tabled by Preston Labour MP Mark Hendrick.
Home Office Minister Brandon Lewis said: “The Government continues to support forces to drive down procurement expenditure and to encourage greater collaboration between police forces and with other public sector bodies and emergency services.
“We believe that significant savings can be achieved through shared or collaborative procurement.”
He said research showed a wide disparity in how much it cost forces to hire cars and said efforts were being made to drive down costs by improving procurement and planning.
John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Spending so much on hire cars smacks of bad organisation and it is important that the constabularies explain why they use them and why the prices they paid vary so widely.
“Not only does poor planning lead to higher costs, local taxpayers will be fed up with seeing their hard-earned money wasted on avoidable situations like this.
“The bill for these hire cars is over £3,000 per day so it is vital that all forces negotiate hard to deliver better value for money for taxpayers.”
A Lancashire Constabulary spokesman said: “We are currently reviewing our use of hire vehicles to ensure that we provide value for money.
“Having said that we always assess the cost of using of hire cars against the fixed costs of providing a car allowance and other transport costs which in the longer term often proves more expensive.”