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

    Comment number 215.

    Their 'Sponsors' aren't particularly well about a tag on the shirt saying

    "PC Brown was brought to you by Coco-cola!"

  • rate this

    Comment number 214.

    As usual, the Editor has selected pro-Police, pro-Establishment blogs, which are not in any way a reflection of the majority of stated sentiment of the previous 210 postings.

    Then again the BBC sponsor the Police, don't they? ...

    'CRIMEWATCH' !!!

    - Perhaps Jimmy Saville's frozen assets should go to fund the Met's new child protection unit. They could call it ...

    'Ows about that then....'

  • rate this

    Comment number 213.

    It's just like all the sponsorship of Detectives by New International...

  • rate this

    Comment number 212.

    I do hope the constable funded to reduce crime at petrol stations was funded only from the sponsor and not seconded from the work the taxpayer paid for him.her to do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 211.

    Poppycock. The Oath is nothing to do with Govt but to the Crown. The Pledge is what has been introduced and agreed by the Force. It is not something that individuals swear to.
    Mercenaries; if that were true there are a lot more places to earn more, not that i am saying the pay isnt good as it is, but the Tax payer gets value for money from 99% of the decent honest officers and staff that work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 210.

    Anyone out there donated their teeth to the Met?

  • Comment number 209.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 208.

    My local roundabout is maintained by the local solicitors. So either I should conclude that they are receiving favours from the local council (who presumably should be doing this), or alternaitvely, they are enhancing the local environment which would otherwise not be a priority in return for their name on a board.

    I think we need some perspective here...

  • rate this

    Comment number 207.

    Can i ask those debating about which laws they should choose to obey,what they think of their PM's choosing which laws he should and should not obey
    a very poor example to law abiding citizens
    Open transparent deals need not be feared

  • rate this

    Comment number 206.

    I would not be at all surprised if governments eventually re-privatise the police forces.

    Hopefully that will not become the fictional Robo-~Cop, but science fiction has a habit of becoming science fact then near reality.

    While on the subject of policing I am not pleased to vote for a commissioner. None have came to my door or posted me any information into the persons standing for election.

  • rate this

    Comment number 205.

    Some of these opinions are absurd. The proper checks are in place. This system allows public spirited companies support our police. What an earth is wrong with that. You should see what gifts the local politicians get, we didn't hear the right honorable Jenny Jones mention anything about that did she she?And the way the government are funding the police at the moment they need all they can get

  • rate this

    Comment number 204.

    197. UKStinks

    30mph limit in residetial area is fine but 30mph in area with no houses o people are there just to make money for the HMRC.


    Realistically the only way the Treasury makes money from this, is from people who can't count or read a dial...

    And who therefore arguably shouldn't be driving in the first place...

  • rate this

    Comment number 203.

    196. Fred Bloggs

    "If that "awful lot of people" is the majority, yes it's okay"

    I'm sorry but you are wrong, just because the majority might agree with something does not make it RIGHT.

    I never said it was RIGHT as you put it. You asked the question I answered, I never mentioned democracy. I do believe in the will of the majority. Do you see mirages as well?

  • rate this

    Comment number 202.

    #197 Doesn't matter why the limit is X mph. Thats the law. Break it by more than 2mph + 10% (depending on your local force) and you get prosecuted for it.

    If you DO think the limit is artificially low to raise revenue (and I know of one or two of those roads too) then thats a really good indication that they will have the cameras out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 201.

    #128, #129,

    Maybe try driving at the speed limit?

  • rate this

    Comment number 200.

    You'd think someone would have donated a few dogs to replace the ones that die in the back of their vehicles.

  • rate this

    Comment number 199.

    Some of our 'overseas territories' police forces are entitled to fine people for small misdemeanours and keep the proceeds in a central source This is then used for benefit within the service.
    For example; Bermuda can fine people for flying the Union Flag incorrectly.
    Perhaps this would be a better, and safer, option than being 'sponsored'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 198.

    In principle I don't have a problem with this. However, I think that all public services that received sponsorship should publish a list annually saying how much from whom for what. That way there would be no room for concern - at least without the benefit of hindsight.

  • rate this

    Comment number 197.

    3 Minutes ago
    #191 Are there any other laws you pick and choose to obey? One of the roads I drive down has recently become a 20 limit. Its damned silly and quite frustrating but I drive at 20 because thats what the law says.
    30mph limit in residetial area is fine but 30mph in area with no houses o people are there just to make money for the HMRC.

  • rate this

    Comment number 196.


    "If that "awful lot of people" is the majority, yes it's okay"

    No, that's the tyranny of the majority. Don't make the absurd assumption that democracy is the be-all and end-all of systems of government. It's not perfect and this is one of the main problems with it.

    I'm sorry but you are wrong, just because the majority might agree with something does not make it RIGHT.


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