October 21 2014 Latest news:
by Jon Dean
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Scotland Yard rules out inquiry into free match passes for officers
A deal between Arsenal and Islington police in which the club dished out up to £60,000 in tickets broke Met rules, Scotland Yard admitted yesterday (Wednesday).
Between 2005 and 2013, officers enjoyed six season tickets – thought to be worth between £1,000 and £2,000 each – every year despite rules saying free tickets to sporting events must be refused.
Islington’s borough Commander, Det Ch Supt Gerry Campbell, put a stop to the deal shortly after he took over in late 2012. Scotland Yard says it won’t be launching an investigation.
Terry Stacy, Lib Dem prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Islington South and Finsbury, said: “Before accepting any hospitality every police officer should ask fundamental questions as to whether acceptance is good for policing and how it would be perceived by the public.
“It seems staggering that for so long a number of police officers in Islington completely failed to ask such basic questions and ignored the Met’s own gifts and hospitality rules.”
Scotland Yard’s Gifts and Hospitality Policy says complementary tickets to sporting events must be refused except in exceptional circumstances, and that any gift accepted with a value higher than £25 should be sold and the proceeds donated to charity.
A spokesman for the Met said: “We acknowledge that it appears accepting these tickets was not in accordance with guidelines set out in the Met’s gifts and hospitality policy.
“On becoming aware of this arrangement, the new borough commander reviewed the situation and made a decision to stop accepting these tickets.
“A record of who was allocated these tickets was made and the process was overseen by a senior officer on the borough of chief inspector rank or above.
“Given that these tickets are no longer accepted, there are no current plans to launch an internal review.”
A spokesman for Arsenal said: “We have always worked closely with the Metropolitan Police who are hugely important to our activities and the safe running of our matches. The tickets were provided for the force to use at their discretion under the oversight of a senior officer.”