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London’s Metropolitan Police (the Met), Britain’s biggest police force, spent £35,000 ($54,000) on calls to the speaking clock in the last two years, and more than £200,000 ($308,000) on calling directory inquiries, The Mirror reported.Sounds excessive right?
They are getting better, though. In an effort to save money, they only made 55,000 calls (£16,879/$26,005) to the speaking clock (used to tell the time) in 2010-11, down from almost 60,000 (£18,402/$28,351) the previous year, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.
Each call to find out the time costs 31 pence.
Officers cut down on the number of calls made to directory inquiries this year; however, they still spent £95,313 ($146,848) on it. The upside? This was lower than the £121,501 ($187,196) they spent last year.
A spokesman for the Met claimed that while the force was committed to reducing such costs wherever possible”, the expenses had been incurred for “evidential and operational reasons”, according to the BBC. The spokesman went on to say that officers who were not based in the office often lacked internet access when they needed to know exact times and contact information.
Matthew Sinclair, director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance campaign group, said that because of the presence of a multitude of ways to check the time and phone numbers, these services should only be used in extenuating circumstances, the Press Association reported.
“The Met need to show proper care when spending taxpayers’ money, and not waste valuable time dawdling on the phone waiting for the third pip from the talking clock.”
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