North Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner has refuted claims that she stopped officers from being able to work by borrowing a police car.

The Police and Crime Panel investigated an anonymous complaint that Julia Mulligan had borrowed a police pool car which was not returned until two days later, causing officers to hire a replacement car. It cleared Ms Mulligan of any wrongdoing.

But Ms Mulligan has insisted that using the car to attend an official meeting on October 23 last year after her own vehicle suffered a flat tyre did follow correct procedure, after a number of newspapers claimed her actions could have prevented officers from being properly equipped for patrol.

The pool car was not a marked police patrol car, but one used by North Yorkshire officers and back room staff.

Although the vehicle was not returned in time for its next booking at 7am the next day, the cost of staff hiring a replacement was still less than a mileage claim in Ms Mulligan's private vehicle which would ultimately be paid by the taxpayer.

Ms Mulligan said: “Reports that suggest my using a pool car in some way interfered with the work of the police are simply untrue. 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.

“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."

The complaint was raised anonymously to City of York Council leader James Alexander, who passed it to the Police and Crime Panel, which oversees the commissioner's work.

Chief Constable Dave Jones said: “The use of the pool car and hire had no impact on operational policing whatsoever.”