Po­lice boss: Force should not foot se­cu­rity bill

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

WEST Mid­lands po­lice will have to pay £430,000 to­wards the cost of host­ing this year’s Con­ser­va­tive Party Con­fer­ence, ac­cord­ing to the Po­lice and Crime Com­mis­sioner (PCC).

David Jamieson said that while the force wel­comed the eco­nomic ben­e­fits next week’s con­fer­ence would bring to the city, the po­lice should not be forced to foot the bill.

Birm­ing­ham has hosted the event three times over the past five years at an es­ti­mated cost of £1.5 mil­lion, the PCC’s of­fice said.

While the gov­ern­ment still pays the ma­jor­ity of the nearly £2 mil­lion in se­cu­rity costs for host- ing the event, West Mid­lands Po­lice are not re­im­bursed for the cost of plan­ning se­cu­rity. This year 13 full time of­fi­cers and staff were part of the plan­ning team for the con­fer­ence, with fur­ther staff and of­fi­cers work­ing part time on the op­er­a­tion. Mr Jamieson is plan­ning to write to Home Sec­re­tary Sa­jid Javid about the is­sue. “I wel­come po­lit­i­cal par­ties bring­ing their con­fer­ences to the West Mid­lands as they pro­vide an im­por­tant boost to the econ­omy,” he said. “I want to see more con­fer­ences, not fewer. And the safety of peo­ple at­tend­ing con- fer­ences and the re­gion will al­ways be of the high­est pri­or­ity. Polic­ing across the re­gion will con­tinue as nor­mal de­spite ex­tra re­sources be­ing al­lo­cated to the con­fer­ence. The polic­ing tak­ing place dur­ing the con­fer­ence will be paid for but one cru­cial el­e­ment will not.

“These events don’t sim­ply hap­pen. En­sur­ing their se­cu­rity re­quires de­tailed ex­pert plan­ning over a long pe­riod.

“The team from West Mid­lands Po­lice be­gan work for this year’s con­fer­ence sev­eral months ago and it is cost­ing £430,000. That’s £430,000 the Home Of­fice will not pay for.

“The force is due to host the con­fer­ence again in 2020, by which point un­paid plan­ning costs may hit £2 mil­lion.

“I am be­com­ing in­creas­ingly frus­trated that West Mid­lands Po­lice is not paid the full amount it costs to keep peo­ple safe. It was re­vealed last week that we’ve been hit the sec­ond hard­est in the whole coun­try by the cuts and now we’re be­ing hit again. It’s just not fair.”

Mean­while, po­lice have warned mo­torists to ex­pect more dis­rup­tion dur­ing the four days of the con­fer­ence.

Birm­ing­ham’s In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre will host the event from Sun­day un­til Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 3.

Drivers have al­ready been frus­trated by di­ver­sions around the Par­adise Cir­cus re­de­vel­op­ment.

Con­fer­ence tents have been erected on part of the par­tially com­pleted Cen­te­nary Square which is un­der­go­ing re­de­vel­op­ment.

> Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May at the 2016 con­fer­ence

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