NEWS International’s desire to give money to policemen could offset the effect of government cuts, it has emerged.
Ministers are talking to the media giant about formalising payments in a bid to close the funding gap and ensure Britain’s streets remain safe for shopping.
The move has received a cautious welcome from the Association of Chief Police Officers who stressed that any changes in the law should be retrospective and that payments could also take the form of spa visits and maybe a nice Audi.
In exchange for wiping out the police budget deficit, News International will receive up to three exclusives a day, though the tip-offs will have to go through official channels rather then being passed across the table in some grimy pub in Deptford.
But critics have warned that formalising the nature of police payments will inevitably lead to more paperwork and prevent frontline officers from guarding tracksuits or stitching up some nonce.
Social policy expert, Julian Cook, said: “Policemen will end up spending hours filling out their News International tip-off forms and eventually News International is going to start exerting top-down management pressure on the policemen to come up with better stories.
“In two to three years I suspect we will have policemen taking mobile phones from crime scenes and having them biked straight over to the Sun newsdesk.”
He added: “The system would work better if we left the relationship between News International and the police as it is – which would be very good for force morale – while training our senior officers to recognise a fucking riot when they see one.”