The £23 million worth of earnings in sponsorships from dozens of organisations, including oil companies were disclosed under the Freedom of Information laws,

These sponsorships are within the rules and the Met Police insisted that every gift was “subject to rigorous parameters”.

However, critics today questioned whether they “could be perceived as compromising the force’s position” as the force is ing subjected to sweeping budget cuts, reports The Telegraph.

According to the new figures, the Met received more than 830 payments, worth at least £22.7 million, between April 2007 and March this year.

Dozens of police stations and units across London were beneficiaries, with some donations used in local crime reduction projects.

Almost £12 million was spent on a fraud investigation unit called the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit, whose detectives are fully sponsored by the banking industry.

The British Oil Security Syndicate, a private security organisation which represents forecourt owners and fuel retailers, paid more than £30,000 for a dedicated officer to fight crime at petrol stations.

Other donations included football shirts provided by Queens Park Rangers and Chelsea to support vehicles for the royal protection and special branch donated by BMW and Land Rover UK..

Guidance from the Association of Chief Police Officers says that private income can “help forces counter the effects of declining budgets and increasing pressure on resources”.

Sponsorship is subject to a one per cent limit of force’s total annual income and the acceptance of sponsorship for “non-core police activities” helped the force’s service to the community.

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