London

Metropolitan Police's Speaking Clock calls cost £35,000

The Metropolitan Police has spent more than £35,000 on 110,000 calls to the Speaking Clock in the last two years, it has emerged.

The force also spent £200,000 calling directory enquiries, figures released to the Press Association under the Freedom of Information Act showed.

Scotland Yard said officers and staff, many without internet access, needed to know exact times and contact details.

However, it added it was "committed to reducing such costs wherever possible".

A single call to the speaking clock costs 31p.

The figures show the force spent £16,879 calling the Speaking Clock in 2010-11, down from £18,402 the previous year.

'Evidential reasons'

Officers and staff also made nearly 55,000 calls to find out the time last year, down from nearly 60,000 calls in 2009-10.

The force also spent £95,313 on directory enquiries in 2010-11, down from £121,501 the previous year.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "We are committed to reducing such costs wherever possible and all directory enquiries from landline telephones are routed to one service with no option to be put through directly.

"It must be remembered however that a huge number of our officers and staff will not have direct access to the internet as they are not office-based.

"There are clearly evidential and operational reasons for officers and staff requiring the exact time and contact details.

"Whilst officers will usually phone in for assistance, there will be occasions where other means for finding out contact information quickly are used."

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