London Police prise open your Oyster cards

The Metropolitan Police has made a record number of requests for data on the activities of London commuters using Oyster cards, according to data acquired by the Green Party.

Transport for London figures requested by the New Lib Dems showed that the Met has made 6,576 requests for information about Tube, rail and bus travellers so far this year, a rise of nearly 20 per cent on 2009. Only 810 of those requests were turned down.

In 2007 the plod made 4,939 requests of which 747 were turned down. The total rose to 6,074 in 2008, of which 1,279 were turned down. Coppers eased up a bit in 2009 with the total number of requests actually falling to 5,619 in 2009. Some 918 of these requests were denied.

The total of 6,576 so far this year is the biggest yet, while the number turned down by TfL is the lowest since 2008.

The police say the numbers are likely to continue to increase as the number of people using the cards rises.

Terrorists, criminals and ne'er-do-wells won't need telling that cash transactions on the London transport network aren't tracked.