POLICE officers in Hampshire have been banned from listening to the radio in their offices because they’re breaking the law.

The force-wide ban has been put in place with immediate effect by the Deputy Chief Constable Simon Cole, who has ordered that TVs and DVD players are also removed unless being used for operational reasons.

Dep Chief Con Cole broke the news to staff in an email after other forces, in particular Wiltshire, were approached by the Performing Right Society who demand a ‘substantial’ licence fee for public broadcasts.

The force took legal advice which stated that use of a radio or TV in a multi-occupancy office amounts to a public broadcast and therefore makes them responsible to pay up.

Dep Chief Con Cole said: “Hampshire Constabulary does not believe taxpayers would approve of the expenditure of public money for this purpose in police offices.

“Therefore, the use of radio and television is not allowed within the constabulary, except in those rare cases where access to broadcast material is essential for operational reasons.”

He did, however, sanction the use of TVs and radios in rest rooms and canteens and said the force was currently trying to negotiate a licence fee to pay for it.