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Metropolitan Police to start selling range of branded clothing and other merchandise in bid to offset swingeing cuts

Force to lend its name to clothing, toys and souvenirs in bid to emulate popularity of New York Police Department

Chris Baynes
Wednesday 31 October 2018 17:28 GMT
The Metropolitan Police has licensed the use of images including the spinning sign outside its New Scotland Yard headquarters
The Metropolitan Police has licensed the use of images including the spinning sign outside its New Scotland Yard headquarters (PA)

The Metropolitan Police is to lend its branding to a range of clothing, homeware, toys and souvenirs as it seeks to raise money for frontline policing.

Scotland Yard is looking to ease the impact of funding cuts by emulating US forces such as the New York Police Department (NYPD), which makes millions of dollars a year selling popular merchandise.

The Met has been forced to find savings of £720m since 2010 and must reduce spending by a further £325m by 2021, according to the London mayor’s office.

To create a new revenue stream, the force has licensed the use of its logo, font and colour scheme, pictures of the spinning sign outside its New Scotland Yard headquarters, and images of its officers on patrol.

Branding firm The Point.1888 has been chosen to establish a range of Met-branded products, which could include clothes, toys and games, stationery, homeware and souvenirs.

Scotland Yard said the merchandise would not allow people to impersonate police officers.

A spokesman said: “Absolutely no products will be produced which directly reflect the uniform of the Metropolitan Police Service and any products which attempt to do so will be charged with intellectual property infringement.”

The NYPD’s merchandise range has been hugely successful internationally, while other forces such as the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) have also launched popular product lines.

Branding experts said the Met’s licensing deal could potentially be worth millions of pounds, but predicted Britons were unlikely to snap up the London force's wares.

“I think it has more of a hope to succeed as a foreign export,” public relations guru Mark Borkowski told the Evening Standard. “It’s that image you have of Beefeaters, Bobbies, telephone boxes and the Routemaster buses.”

He added: “I don’t think you’ll see floods of Londoners buying their cuddly Met plod toy with their uniforms.

“If you think about NYPD or LAPD – I don’t think people in New York or Los Angeles have the same sort of romance about that police force.”

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The Point.1888, which has previously worked with Tate galleries, Team GB, and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, has signed a licensing deal with the Met until 2021.

Will Stewart, the company’s managing director, said: “I grew up in London, so to be able to generate revenue that puts more bobbies on the beat in my home town is an honour.”

The deal was brokered by Transport for London, which already sells its own range of gifts and merchandise.

The Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents staff, said last month that the force had "run out of things to sell" after disposing of property worth more than £1bn over the past six years.

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