Force under fire for wasting money on supplies everything from weapons to sandwiches.
- £3.2m spent on Tasers with millions more on other weaponry
- £920,000 on breakfast plus a further £148,000 on fruit squash
- £50,000 on robots to search hostile environments even in darkness
- £500,000 on clearing horse manure from stables and disposing of it
The full scale of spending on private contractors by the UK’s biggest police force is laid bare today as the nation’s most senior officer is summoned by MPs to account for millions of pounds in wasted public money.
A leaked list seen by The Mail on Sunday shows the Metropolitan Police has signed deals worth £3.5 billion with more than 300 companies, to supply everything from high-tech weaponry to sandwiches.
The huge sums will be scrutinised when Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe appears before a powerful group of MPs on Tuesday, with Scotland Yard under pressure to save more than £500 million without losing officers from the streets.
Mounting costs: The Metropolitan Police have been criticised for their spending including £500,00 going on cleaning up horse manure
Full details of the Met’s spending with private firms, spanning more than a decade and with some contracts ongoing, reveal the force is paying out:
- £1 billion on a ‘core’ IT contract with Capgemini, plus millions of pounds on software and upgrades.
- £10.9 million on animals, including £7 million to keep dangerous seized dogs in kennels and
- £500,000 a year to clear horse manure from stables.
- £4.6 million on market research to find out what the public thinks about its services.
- £21.1 million on weapons and armour, including £50,000 on several of the ‘world’s first throwable robot’, which can reconnoitre hostile environments even in darkness.
- £9.4 million on food and drink for canteens, including £2.1 million on sandwiches and £900,000 on milk.
- £43,700 to store evidence linked to Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian spy killed in London by a radioactive poison.
Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said: ‘This is the first time that we have received such a comprehensive list about the expenditure of a police force.
We will be exploring some of the expenditure with the Commissioner when he appears before the Committee on Tuesday.’
Joanne McCartney, chairwoman of the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee, said: ‘I think procurement at the Met does need to be looked at. We have raised issues with the Met’s spending on dog kennelling before. Its IT costs have been looked at before.
‘I think the budget needs to be tightened, otherwise it will mean fewer police officers being employed.’
Jenny Jones, the deputy chair of the Police and Crime Committee, said: ‘Police officers tell me they see waste all the time at the Met.
Aiming high: The force spent £21.1million on weapons and armour
They tell me it costs the Met £100 just to put a whiteboard up in their office. The police officers say they get angry because it means bobbies on the beat are cut back. There is waste at every level of the organisation.’
With national responsibility for counterterrorism and protecting VIPs as well as keeping Londoners safe, the Met currently has 31,548 officers, a further 2,738 police community support officers and another 20,000 civilian staff.
Like other forces, it must cope with 20 per cent cuts to main Home Office funding, but the Met is yet to finalise how it will make savings totalling £548 million by 2015-16.
The Met is behind schedule after the phone-hacking scandal led to the departure of three senior figures, including the Commissioner, while much of the past year was spent preparing for the Olympics.
However, although salaries account for a large proportion of bills, the Met cannot easily lose officers after London Mayor Boris Johnson made an election vow to protect police numbers.
Frying squad: £920,000 went on 'bread and morning products'
His Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, has said that only about 500 posts will be cut and has promised to ‘sweat’ the assets and introduce ‘smarter procurement’ at an organisation he described as an ‘enormous beast’.
Mr Greenhalgh told the Home Affairs Select Committee in September that he was ‘staggered’ by how much the force spends on IT.
It also employs 802 in-house computer maintenance staff because counterterrorism officers are worried about the security risks of using outside external contractors.
Mr Greenhalgh said the Met did not need a ‘plethora of expensive buildings’ and spent a ‘staggering’ £200 million on running them.
Last month, the force announced plans to sell its New Scotland Yard headquarters, famous for its revolving sign, in an attempt to save money.
The reassuring presence of police stations across London is also under threat, with proposals to replace them with counters inside supermarkets and cafes.
The full list of the Met’s 319 contracts with private companies, some dating back as far as 2003, suggest many more areas where the axe is likely to fall.
According to the document, the total value of the listed deals is £3.5 billion. A third of this has gone on IT alone.
The money spent on food and drink to be sold in canteens includes £920,000 on ‘bread and morning products’ and £148,000 on fruit squash.
The outlay on weapons and armour included £3.2 million on Tasers, £7,000 on ‘grenade boxes’, £641,000 on ammunition for sniper rifles and £400,000 on Heckler & Koch pistols. A Met spokesman refused to say what its Recon Scout robots were used for on ‘security grounds’.
The document also shows the force has spent more than £40,000 on storing evidence relating to their investigation into the death of Mr Litvinenko, who detectives say was killed with the poison polonium-210 in 2006.
Fire power: The outlay on weapons and armour included £3.2 million on Tasers (pictured), £7,000 on 'grenade boxes', £641,000 on ammunition for sniper rifles and £400,000 on Heckler & Koch pistols
Among £13.7 million-worth of vehicles bought were a Volkswagen Caravelle people carrier, 18 Ford Transit vans, mountain bikes, multi-vehicle transporters and six Jaguars. A Scotland Yard spokesman could not explain why it leased five electric cars for £64,000.
In total, £10.9 million was spent on caring for animals – both those used by the force and those seized from the public.
This included a £500,000-a-year deal with Balfour Beatty to remove manure from horse stables and dispose of it, and £1.3 million on ‘forage/bedding’.
A further £22.6 million was spent on clothing, ranging from £151,876 for ‘embroidered inspector epaulettes’ to £46,134 on riot police balaclavas.
Major contracts included £280 million to clean and maintain police buildings, £107 million to provide concessionary travel for officers and £220 million to repair the Met’s fleet of vehicles.
Millions of pounds were also spent on fees for doctors who check on the health of suspects in custody.
More unusual items of spending included £62,000 to improve oil storage at a bothy near Balmoral, £600,000 for ‘conflict management services’ and £358,696 to build a ‘temporary armoury’ in an ‘underground car park’.
A spokesman for the Met declined to comment on individual contracts. He insisted: ‘The Met gets best value for money through stringent procurement processes.’
A spokesman for the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime said: ‘The Mayor’s Office has put tough new processes in place to monitor spending, cut out waste and ensure more money goes towards frontline policing.’
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Got to buy sandwiches from somewhere same with guns ETC. Not sure the DM has taken the right line on this one. (Not unusual) If it is cheaper to buy from contractors what is the problem here?
"Frying squad: £920,000 went on 'bread and morning products'"
So bread and what were the other products?
Considering this is in truth a non-story thought I would add this. Something I am sure the MET will be buying.
The latest in Taser technology.
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Edited by Black Rat, 20 December 2012 - 04:31 pm.