No action taken against police chief's wife's car hire firm

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The Independent Online

No legal action will be taken as a result of an investigation into a luxury car hire firm based at the home of Britain's counter-terrorism police chief.

Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick faced potentially embarrassing questions over the nature of the business, run by his wife Judith.

Council officials launched an inquiry after it emerged the company was offering chauffeur-driven outings as well as a wedding car service.

If this was the case the owners would be required to obtain a private hire vehicle and operator's licence. Its drivers would also need to be licensed.

Richard Woodward, director of community services at Tandridge District Council, said the company has now stopped offering non-wedding services.

He said: "We have held discussions with the owners, who have given assurances they are currently providing a car service for weddings only.

"This type of car service does not require local authority licensing and the company has stopped offering any other services.

"The company is considering what other services it may want to provide in the future, but will discuss these with the council to ensure they comply with all licensing requirements."

Mr Quick, who is responsible for Scotland Yard's Specialist Operations branch, sparked a row after blasting a newspaper article about the business.

He accused Conservatives of trying to undermine a high-profile Whitehall leaks inquiry which involved the arrest of Tory frontbench MP Damian Green.

The senior police officer said he was forced to move his family as a result of the publicity but later retracted his allegations and apologised.

It was claimed security concerns arose over the car hire firm's website as it included Mr Quick's home address. The website has since been changed.

Surrey Police, where Mr Quick was Chief Constable between 2004 and 2008, contributed to a booklet explaining the rules affecting private car hire firms.

One passage read: "No person shall operate any vehicle as a private-hire vehicle in Tandridge without having a current operator's licence. This (is) in addition to any requirement for a vehicle or driver's licence."

The firm's website said the company uses "the best examples of Rolls Royce's available for our wedding cars and operate our service in Surrey, Kent, Sussex and London."

No-one at the car hire firm was available to comment. The Metropolitan Police referred all inquiries to the company.