September 30th, 2008

Spare a Copper for a Train Ticket, Gov’nor?

Posted in The Job - General by 200

We must have pissed off some journalists this week, they keep writing stories about how much tax-payer’s cash we are abusing. The crime editor at the Times is up in arms because the Met pay up to £24million a year to rail companies to provide it’s officers with free travel.

The concession allows 31,000 Met officers to travel to & from work on the trains (within 50 miles of London) & also to make journeys on & off duty. The scheme costs the Met £16million last year but they also have to pay a further £8million to the treasury because the scheme is seen as a taxable perk.

The free travel perk has been vital in attracting officers to the capital, whilst London bobbies get some 5-6 grand above other forces for the London weighting, this could be significantly diminished if they also had to pay transport costs.

Forces which surround London could be forgiven for hoping that the people who hold the purse strings for the Met do tighten up & do away with the scheme; it will do a great deal to stop the Met leaching officers trained by other forces who then transfer to London for the extra dosh.

The free travel scheme was started in 1970 & was designed to get more police officers on the networks who were (and are) expected to step in to any situations they may come across both on & off duty.

As the cash-counters demand more & more costs savings, many within the police service around the capital are watching this one with interest. I suspect several chief constables are hoping the scheme is ended whereupon they can welcome back thousands of officers into their folds, except that their books will be full due to budget constraints & an awful lot of Met officers will be several grand worse off with nowhere to go.

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9 comments

  1. James says:

    typical nulab, knowing the cost of everything, value of nothing.

    September 30th, 2008 at 18:55

  2. NARPO GRUMPS says:

    H’mmmm, all those officers using free transport. £16m is a huge amount – or, is it? You would need to know how many officers use it assuming around 190 duty days per year and 2 journeys for each of those days per officer (and we know the met works far more days than that). Lets guess at 200 duty days at 1 hour per day is spent travelling ‘free’. Per officer (who is not being paid but is available for duty) 200 hours duty is an awful lot of free days crime prevention, multiply that by however many officers use it, and it must be a lot, then the days they spend with no pay protecting the public transport network in the Capital (- at a time when the terrororist risk is higher than it has ever been, and the public transport system seems to be their favourite target) – probably exceeds what some smaller forces uniform shift contingent have available all year for all officers for a whole county.
    What numpty wants to stop this opportunity??

    September 30th, 2008 at 20:28

  3. MetAnon says:

    And there i was thinking the train companies did this out of the goodness of their hearts and a desire to protect their passengers!

    September 30th, 2008 at 20:31

  4. NARPO GRUMPS says:

    sorry, forgot to say that i recently bought one of those oyster thingymies. each journey i make i think costs £1.50. so you are probably getting an officer free for 1/2 hour for £1.50 – i know a lot of football club accountants who would love to buy officers for £3.00 per hour!

    September 30th, 2008 at 20:37

  5. Zac Smith says:

    £516.13 per officer, which is about half the cost of a Zone 1-2 travelcard. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me. Well done the Met.

    October 1st, 2008 at 08:44

  6. Five2Go says:

    Just to clear up a couple of things – Free travel on the underground and London buses may have started in 1970 but the scheme was only extended to the overground trains in 2001/2.

    As for the influx of officers from other forces coming into the Met we didn’t hear any bleating when the flow was going in the other direction……prior to the extension of the scheme. The trend will inevitabley shift the other way again at some time or other.

    October 1st, 2008 at 09:50

  7. 200 says:

    Five2Go,
    you mean nobody in the Met bleated about losing officers? I simply don’t believe it, police bleat about everything, hence this & all the other police blogs.

    Also, most of the bleating is coming from Met officers threatening to transfer if the travel arrangements are cut.

    October 1st, 2008 at 16:18

  8. ginger says:

    When bus and tube transport was free, it was exactly that – free. The Met didn’t pay. Now the Met pay their way, they get lambasted. Come off it. It’s an attraction to get people to go to the Met. It also prevents nearly 15 million vehicular work journeys within the capital per year (I did the sums, do them yourself), and so is alleviating road congestion in a big way.

    BTW – the BTP have always had this, yet no-one seems to mention them.

    October 2nd, 2008 at 09:02

  9. Core blimey says:

    I think you will find that this privilege is used mostly by the office wallahs at NSY,[9=5] who probable can’t remember how to arrest someone, and would be embarrassed to try.

    October 2nd, 2008 at 20:20

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