Met Police officers slammed for spending on iPads and custom jackets

.  (PA Archive)
. (PA Archive)

A group of officers in the Met Police has been criticised for spending public money on items like iPads, personalised jackets, and tomahawk axes.

Members of the Met’s Specialist Firearms Command unit are said, in Baroness Casey’s damning review of the force and its culture, to have “gamed the system financially” - partly through their use of expenses.

The concern was raised at a Wednesday meeting of the London Assembly’s police and crime committee, by Lib Dem member Caroline Pidgeon.

Ms Pidgeon said to Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley: “We’re told of officers making multiple, frequent expense claims just below the limit that would require formal sign-off, travelling overseas for training courses, ordering iPads and personalised jackets on expenses.

Lib Dem AM Caroline Pidgeon (Nigel Howard)
Lib Dem AM Caroline Pidgeon (Nigel Howard)

“This reminds me of my time on the police authority, when there was a huge scandal of credit card fraud in the Met.

“We put in tough, tough measures and through the MPA [the Mayor’s Police Authority, now replaced by the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime], through monthly committees I sat on, to make sure we got that fraud down.

“What are you doing to tackle things like that, because that’s not just the sexual misconduct, [or] whatever [else is contained in the report], that’s just corrupt, actually. What are you doing to tackle that sort of issue within these specialist units?”

Sir Mark Rowley has insisted there is “momentum” to overhaul the Metropolitan Police (PA Wire)
Sir Mark Rowley has insisted there is “momentum” to overhaul the Metropolitan Police (PA Wire)

Sir Mark replied: “We’re looking at the finances of the relevant units and - just going down a slight tangent - there are lots of worrying case studies in Louise’s report.

“She took them on the basis from people they were going to stay anonymous. We’ve asked Louise for the evidence on those, because we want to follow them all up.

“If they stand up as they present [in the report], then there’s lots of people who shouldn’t have a job.

“But that needs proper investigation. We’ve asked Louise for the starting point to be able to do those investigations. Some of them, like the finances, we can do the audits based on the records and we can get to the bottom of it quite quickly - and if it is as it presents in the report, then obviously it is very serious.

“But [also] in terms of individuals, and then looking again at systems, in terms of why have the systems allowed this to happen.”

Labour AM Len Duvall pointed out that the report contained an allegation of spending by some officers on tomahawk axes.

Labour AM Len Duvall (London Assembly)
Labour AM Len Duvall (London Assembly)

He said: “I can’t think of any policing circumstances that that would be appropriate, so I hope that’s on your radar, in terms of that, and whether its true or not, but someone needs to do it very quickly.”

Sir Mark said it was “absolutely” on his radar.