London, July 7 : A society that collects royalties for musicians in the UK is unhappy with the police force over the use of pop tunes on iPods, stereos, and radios without a licence.
The Performing Rights Society is presently pursuing a test case against the Lancashire force.
The society has granted licences to play music at the Lancashire Police HQ in Hutton, in the sports hall, and in the mounted police branch.
However, there are no licences covering the force's 34 police stations.
Eight other police forces across England and Wales also acknowledge the fact there are facilities to play background music in canteens, staff rooms, security guard offices, and other work areas at most police stations and headquarters.
It is also played in waiting and reception areas, in staff gyms and in training videos and at office parties and conferences.
The society even says that it is against copyright rules to play soothing tunes to telephone callers when they are on hold.
Last year, the society sued car repair chain Kwik-Fit, and demanded payment of 200,000 pounds in damages because car mechanics frequently played their radios loud enough for others to overhear.
According to the society, Lancashire is one of 11 forces in the country that have either refused or failed to obtain licences for playing music.
Lancashire Police refused to comment on the writ.
A Police Federation source, however, ridiculed the idea that police forces should obtain licences to enjoy music.
"Playing music or watching telly is an everyday occurrence in police stations up and down the country. To take that away or start charging police for that pleasure is simply ludicrous. A common sense approach needs to be applied here," the Daily Star quoted the source as saying.