Met Police got £22.7m from sponsors, FOI request finds

 
Met police Between April 2007 and March this year the Met received at least 833 donations

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The Metropolitan Police has received donations and sponsorship worth £22.7m from dozens of organisations over the past five years, the BBC has learned.

The figures were disclosed following a Freedom of Information Act request.

Donations ranged from football shirts provided by Queens Park Rangers and Chelsea, to motorcycles and cars supplied by Land Rover, BMW and Nestle.

Scotland Yard said it had a "long history" of working with different partners to tackle crime.

BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said the figures provided an insight into some of the less well-known sources of income at Britain's biggest police force.

Examples of donations to the Met

  • EMI provided 11 rock concert tickets
  • Land Rover UK and BMW donated support vehicles for Special Branch and royal protection
  • McDonald's funded two mountain bikes
  • Nestle UK donated a Ford Mondeo
  • Football clubs Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers donated football shifts

Between April 2007 and March this year the force received at least 833 donations, with a number of police stations and units across London being the beneficiaries.

Some of the donations were given to teams working within local communities on crime reduction projects.

An oil security organisation helped pay for a police constable to reduce crime at petrol stations, and record company EMI donated 11 concert tickets.

The biggest donor was the Association of Payment Clearing Services, which later became UK Payments Administration Ltd, which represents members of the financial services industry.

It spent £11.9m in 21 instalments on a fraud investigation unit called the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit.

Officers in the unit work with banking industry fraud investigators and is fully sponsored by the banking industry which invests nearly £5m per year in its operation.

'Declining budgets'

Start Quote

We have to ask, is the Met doing what they are paid to do by outside agencies, or what the public expects them to do?”

End Quote Jenny Jones London Assembly Green member

The figures also show many local businesses across the force's boroughs have donated patrol mountain bikes to help police in their areas, while BMW and Land Rover UK donated support vehicles for royal protection and Special Branch.

In a statement the Met said funding from organisations was used in several areas of police activity such as the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit.

"Donations and sponsorship over £50,000 must be referred to the deputy mayor for policing and crime for approval.

"Such arrangements are subject to rigorous parameters. They do not make any of the statutory functions of the MPS dependent on this funding nor does it allow for any companies to interfere with the duties of the police."

The Association of Chief Police Officers says in its guidance that such income generation can "help forces counter the effects of declining budgets and increasing pressure on resources".

It says sponsorship is subject to a 1% limit of the force's total annual income, and the acceptance of sponsorship for non-core police activities is intended to extend and enhance the force's service to the community.

London Assembly Green member Jenny Jones questioned whether it was right for police to accept such donations and called for the Met to "rethink" the policy.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, she said: "Some of this looks like rent-a-cop policing, which I think the majority of the public would not find acceptable.

"Plus... might the companies think they're going to have a preferential treatment when they come to perhaps tendering for a contract with the Met?

"At worst, it could distort policing priorities, I don't think there's any doubt about that. It's a very, very dodgy sort of situation and the Met does - I think - need to clean up its act a little bit."

'Under public scrutiny'

But Dr Tim Brain, a former chief constable for Gloucestershire Police and a research fellow at Cardiff University, told the programme there was no problem with such donations.

"It's allowed by law. There's the transparency that's shown by the fact that you've had this request and all the information is now in the public domain.

"But crucially, it's important to see it in the financial context. We're talking £22.5m over five years.

"The Metropolitan Police budget is £3.5bn annually. So this represents a very small part of their business which is under public scrutiny."

He added there were real "opportunities" to "capitalise on the good will" of local people and organisations, while making sure private hire of policing, sponsorship and donations remain transparent.

Keith Vaz, the Commons Home Affairs Committee chairman, said the Metropolitan police should "consider very carefully" whether any gifts "could be perceived as compromising the force's position".

He added: "The Home Affairs Committee is currently holding an inquiry into leadership and standards in the police, and we will be hearing from the commissioner on these matters."

 

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  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 55.

    I would imagine that this will become even more prevalent with the advent of Police Commissioners. They will be seen as an entry point for special interests and corporate influence; the worries over corruption are very real as the Police are no more perfect than I or anyone else.

    I really don't like the idea of this.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 54.

    Will Hay once made a film called "Ask a policeman" The constables of "Turn-Bottom-Round" lived of the land by doing a bit of poaching, turning a blind eye to minor crime.and using the police car to "take his girl out" Art imitating life?
    This must lead to a conflict of interest.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 53.

    I'd bet my pension (or a BigMac and a cup of Nestle coffee) that Ed Millibandwagon will be along any minute now to condemn this as an outrage and ask why the Government has allowed it to happen.

    (But the fact that it started under the previous Labour Government, will, as always, completely slip his mind).

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 52.

    @38 Mrs Vee

    Have you seen the amount of Police there are at footie matches?

    They can auction off these shits, and if they are signed, i'm sure they would create quite a bit of revenue.

    I have to say that I am shocked that most posts are negative. The met put their lives on the line every day for the likes of us. It seems there is no respect or support for them at all here. Shame on you all

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 51.

    Well that list of bribery goes a long way to explain why the Met waste so much time chasing after people who have done nothing more than participate in democracy by attending a peaceful protest... and h=only have eyes for protecting corporate interests the majority of the time

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 50.

    Confused, i thought a donation was given to an organisation with out any parameters being set as to what the money could be used for, if there are restrictions then surely these are then inducements which I presume are illegal, lastly why did QPR give them shirts?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 49.

    My first thoughts on reading this were that there is an issue of impartiality, perhaps independent oversight of donations might help ameliorate concerns.

    I can see how donations of goods/services could work thou, for instance a local football team donating shirts/training to help with a youth outreach program. Where money is directly given there will always be quid pro quo arguments.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 48.

    Its the donations that dont appear on the books that worry me .

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 47.

    I wonder: if I made regular donations to the police, and then one day I was stopped for speeding... would I get a ticket?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 46.

    Wait until the new police commissioners are sponsored by companies. We are going down the American route where money takes over politics.
    Sorry, you mean it already has?

    Personally I would be more interested to know how much tax these companies HAVENT paid.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 45.

    Company donations are just a form of advertising for the company. If people see the police driving say a BMW then this does say something about the brand. Provided there are no strings attached I do not see an issue here. In any case what favours would a company like BMW expect to get from the police? Donations from individuals are a totally different matter and should not be allowed.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 44.

    If these are honest and genuine donations i'm all for it and think more of us should show support for our Police!
    They have a few bad apples like the rest of us but most are made of good stuff!
    As a nation i think we should all make gestures like this.
    They don't do an easy or well paid job and i bet they would appreciate and respond well to some positive support for a change!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 43.

    You need to add this to the amount that the met is underfunded by and also congratulate them on their entrepreneurship.
    Also this information has been available to the public for some time and fotrthe BBC to claim that they have "discovered" it is a bit ingenuous.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 42.

    @38 Could I ask how football shirts from QPR and Chelsea helped the Met tackle crime? Just asking.

    They probably didn't help to tackle crime. They have probably listed these items as donations, as per the rules, then raffled them for a nominated charity.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 41.

    24.
    Balloon Rake

    The horses that the Met Police use should be given some donations due to the sterling work they do.

    - I don't disagree with your point, but I wish their riders would clean the mess their horses make. I live near the Kings Cross stables and the roads are perpetually littered with horse manure.
    If it was dog muck the council would issue a fine, but the Police are beyond our laws.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 40.

    The Met " needs to clean up its act a bit"? It needs root and branch reform; it's corrupt from top to bottom.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 39.

    This is a tough one, on the one hand it's the sort of thing that is ripe for abuse (see "donations" to political parties) and on the other hand the vast majority of it is probably genuine good will. Unlike in politics where donations have lead to corruption because they are dependent on the money I think the police are probably safe as donations make up such a tiny fraction of their income.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 38.

    "Scotland Yard said it had a "long history" of working with different partners to tackle crime"

    Could I ask how football shirts from QPR and Chelsea helped the Met tackle crime? Just asking.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 37.

    Where else would they get the money? The Government?

    It's just privatisation by the back door, a Tea Party dream-come-true
    As the Japanese buy our utilities from the French and Germans, and the Chinese tale a stake in the Spanish owned Heathrow, why not the Police?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 36.

    This happens all over the place my local Police force has cars with Donated by Tesco on the side

 

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