Home > Government > UK Met police received £23m in corporate sponsorship over five years.

UK Met police received £23m in corporate sponsorship over five years.

By   Thursday 1st November 2012.

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Metropolitan police

The Metropolitan Police said donations over £50,000 had to be referred to London’s deputy mayor for policing for approval. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
UK’s biggest police force was given everything from T-shirts to vehicles, freedom of information request reveals.
Britain’s largest police force has received millions of pounds in corporate sponsorship over the past five years, a freedom of information request has revealed.

Totalling almost £23m, gifts given to the Metropolitan police force by businesses include everything from Chelsea and QPR T-shirts to vehicles supplied to royal protection and special branch units by Land Rover and BMW.

The request also shows that many local businesses across the force’s boroughs were donating patrol mountain bikes to help police their areas.

The figure unearthed by the BBC also includes money donated by companies for dedicated policing at events. For decades, forces around the country have charged to police events such as football matches. However, the freedom of information request also reveals that representatives of the oil industry paid to have an officer reduce crime on their retail forecourts.

The credit card body the Association of Payment Clearing Services paid a total of £11.9m to fund its own dedicated fraud investigation unit called the dedicated cheque and plastic crime unit.

In all, between April 2007 and March 2012 the Met received a minimum of 833 payments equalling £22.7m.

In a statement the Met said: “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 [Metropolitan police service] dependent on this funding nor does it allow for any companies to interfere with the duties of the police.”

Speaking to the Today programme, the Green party London assembly member Jenny Jones said she feared rent-a-cop policing. “There’s not enough detail. It would be very interesting to ask the Met to give a little more information because some of this looks like rent-a-cop policing, which I think the majority of the public would not find acceptable,” she said.

The former chief constable of Gloucestershire police Dr Tim Brain said: “I think there’s no problem with it. It is allowed by law.” He added that £22m over five years should be seen in the context of the Met’s overall budget of around £3.5bn annually.

In a statement to the BBC, 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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