Police forces paid £660,000 in 2012 to allow staff to listen to music at work

The money went to the Performing Right Society which collects fees and pays royalties to composers and publishers

Police chiefs in England and Wales have paid £660,952 for licences so that staff can listen to music in their offices over the last year.

According to figures obtained by a Freedom of Information request, the forces paid money to the Performing Right Society, which collects fees and pays royalties to composers and publishers. Some 17 forces spent over £10,000 on music, while the Metropolitan Police had the highest expenditure, paying £246,297 to PRS, the BBC reports.

A spokesperson for PRS told NME: “Like any business or organisation using music the police need to obtain a licence too. If music is played in police offices, warehouses, training buildings or anything like that a licence would be required. The money collected from this and from 350,000 businesses around the UK ensures the songwriters, composers and publishers of the music receive the royalties they’re entitled to by law.”

However, the head of the finance department of the Association of Chief Police Officers, Chief Constable Nick Gargan, told the BBC he would rather budgets were spent on “fighting crime and keeping people safe”. “Our policy at Avon and Somerset Police [the force he heads] is simple: we don’t play music”.

Police forces with the largest PRS expenditure:

Metropolitan Police £246,297
Thames Valley Police £36,655
Devon & Cornwall Constabulary £26,790
Kent Police £25,012
South Yorkshire Police £24,943
Surrey Police £24,427
West Midlands Police £24,388
Greater Manchester Police £22,200
North Wales Police £17,777
Staffordshire Police £16,069

Police forces with the lowest PRS expenditure:

Ministry of Defence Police £0
Norfolk Constabulary £0
South Wales Police £0
Wiltshire Constabulary £0
Civil Nuclear Constabulary £127
Avon & Somerset Constabulary £182
Hampshire Constabulary £312
Cleveland Police £1,957
Cambridgeshire Constabulary £1,999
Nottinghamshire Police £2,100