South Yorkshire bobbies’ beats cost £70,000

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Police in South Yorkshire have paid nearly £70,000 for licences allowing staff to listen to music at work.

The force paid out £24,943.71 in the last financial year, £20,961.68 between April 2011 and March 2012, and £23,660.43 between April 2010 and March 2011.

The £69,565.82 over three years has gone to the Performing Right Society for Music, which grants licences to organisations so they can play music in public places.

PRS for Music uses the fees to pay royalties to writers, composers and publishers when their work is played in public.

Police chiefs disclosed the amount following a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

Neil Bowles, chairman of South Yorkshire Police Federation, said he agreed with police officers being able to listen to music at work.

He said: “It is a shocking figure to be paying but you have to balance staff welfare with the bigger issues – I would personally allow people to listen to music while at work, it’s something I have always done throughout my working life.”

A joint statement issued by South Yorkshire Police and the force’s Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright, said: “A PRS Music Licence is a requirement for any business premises in the UK if recorded music is played.

“A proposal has been produced by PRS for UK police forces in regards to the arrangement of a licence and the actual cost.

“Without the PRS Music Licence, SYP would be liable for infringing copyright and could be sued for damages.

“South Yorkshire Police, along with other forces in the country, purchases the licence to be able to use recorded music within police premises in accordance with regulations.

“The use of recorded music includes being played in canteens, rest areas and leisure facilities within police premises to enhance staff health and wellbeing, within departments and at workstations where access to radios is required to fulfil the job profile, and when recorded music is utilised as part of training videos and presentations.”