Arsenal provided free season tickets for Islington police officers
Scotland Yard has ruled out an inquiry into Arsenal providing up to £60,00o worth of free tickets to matches at the Emirates for Islington police officers.
Between 2005 and 2013, Islington police 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, Detective Chief Superintendent Gerry Campbell, ended the arrangement after he took up his role in late 2012.
Scotland Yard has confirmed it won’t be launching an investigation into how the arrangement between Arsenal and Islington police came about or into any of the individual police officers who benefitted from it.
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 Metropolitan Police’s own gifts and hospitality rules.”
Scotland Yard’s Gifts and Hospitality Policy says complimentary 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 Metropolitan Police 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.”
Scotland Yard may have ruled out an inquiry, but Arsenal have questions to answer on why with so many people on the season ticket waiting list they can make six available to Islington police officers for free?