Police sponsorship deals attacked as corruption

Click to follow
The Independent Online
A police leader yesterday attacked what he called a drift towards "logo cops" and warned that growing private sponsorship could lead to corruption.

David French, chairman of the Constables' Central Conference, which represents the 97,000 constables in England and Wales, insisted "our badge is not for sale."

He said: "I don't want PC MacBurger on my shoulder, my helmet or my back."

He added: "Policing is a public service and it must operate independently of and above all private interests. Anything else is tantamount to corruption."

He attacked the increasing number of forces that are adopting private sponsors at the Police Federation of England and Wales' annual conference in Blackpool yesterday.

Chief constables are now allowed to raise up to one per cent of their funding from private sources, which could be worth pounds 70m a year. A number of forces already use private backers including Northumbria which has sponsorship from a local brewery, and Avon and Somerset, which gets support from an off-licence.

Mr French said: "We the constables say no to your logo, on our vehicles, on our equipment, on the signs above our stations, and especially on our uniforms.

He went on to attack chief constables who act like "chief executives" by using extra funding to buy expensive equipment and computers rather than patrol officers.

"It wasn't beat cops we got, but flying ones, in shiny helicopters, all Turtle Wax and roaring engines for the local news to film. And instead of more officers outside, we got Intel inside. Swanky new computers so sophisticated that they needed other computers to look after them," he said.

The growing discontent among rank and file members was reflected in a survey published yesterday which found that the vast majority of constables in London are critical of the way the Metropolitan police is run.

The survey of 11,411 constables - about half of the force's total - shows that 83 per cent are dissatisfied with the way resources are allocated and feel they are unable to carry out their responsibilities.

t The Federation's conference also heard that crime costs an estimated pounds 31bn a year. This includes pounds 16m a week on vehicle theft and pounds 2.3m a day on other theft.

t A police force is hoping to trial a new synthetic form of pepper spray, it was announced yesterday. Hertfordshire police is examining a form of spray, called Pava, that contains some of the chemical found in peppers. The Home Office has ruled out pepper sprays because of concerns about side effects on pregnant women and people with breathing problems.