Police cars could be sponsored by EasyJet and even have the airline's logo in a bid to raise money while budgets are slashed, a police and crime commissioner has said.
Olly Martins, Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, told MPs he would be happy to have his force's cars branded with the logo in exchange for sponsorship from the airline, which has a major hub at Luton Airport, in his county.
He was speaking during a Home Affairs Select Committee hearing about police funding and budget cuts the Home Office imposed on forces, which have been so severe a group of PCCs threatened to take the government to court over them.
A spokesman for Mr Martins said logos could appear on sponsored uniforms or vehicles "subject to ethical vetting".
Mr Martins previously held a referendum in the county on raising the police share of council tax but it failed to pass.
The committee asked him whether the airline could sponsor the force's cars. He said: "I'd welcome it because that's an alternative to reducing our police numbers below a level that I think is already putting our force in a position of not being viable."
When asked whether his chief constable was fine with this, Mr Martins said they were "open minded" on the issue.
"I am prepared to take desperate measures to avoid reducing our already anaemic police numbers," he added.
Sponsorship is a long-standing aspect of British policing - though branding and explicit advertising is not. The Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit, which combats fraud, is sponsored by the banking industry.
Police forces have faced budget cuts and funding has become so dire that some have announced they will not proactively investigate certain crimes or visit victims of certain ones.
Craig Mackay, the Metropolitan Police deputy commissioner, told the committee that sponsorship could be legally complicated but added: "We would like to issue the whole of sponsorship, how you can help policing."Suggest a correction