Tuesday, April 15, 2008
2012 Policing - Who Pays?
One of the many big ticket 2012 items never originally considered was policing. A ludicrous omission that was later corrected, at the cost of £600m (eg see this blog).
But given everything we know about Tibetan torch protests and murderous Islamic fanatics, is £600m nearly enough?
According to a recent report from the Met Commissioner to the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA):
"The challenge facing the Met relates to events, such as the Tour de France, which take place on the streets of London. The number of these types of events is likely to grow significantly in the next few years as, following the Beijing Olympics in August 2008, the Mayor is keen to promote London as the Olympic city. The policing costs associated with these events are likely to be significant and the MPA needs to consider the position that it will take in relation to who should pay.
[A further] challenge relates to the ‘warm-up’ events for the Olympics. These will require a level of policing and in a similar vein to the previous issue, the MPA needs to consider the position that it will take in relation to who should pay."
Translation: £600m isn't nearly enough, and unless we get some more cash pronto, we will be cutting normal street policing even further to cope with the grandstanding run-up to 2012. Those that will pay will be the law-abiding residents of London who will stand in even greater risk of getting burgled/mugged/raped/stabbed/shot on their way home from Tescos.
Who's idea was this again?
PS These pronouncements were part of a Met paper asking the MPA to increase the charges for event policing (football matches etc). But charges for policing public events have already exploded over the last ten years, increasing nationally by c 250% to £400m in the ten years to 2005-06. It's all part of Charging Creep (see this blog)- charging us for stuff that was once "free". And it means that important events like the Mumbles Raft Race, the Starbeck Gala, the Bilton Gala, the Harrogate International Youth Music Festival parade, Ripon's St Wilfrid's procession, and the fabled Knaresborough Bed Race (pic) are all being canned because they can't afford the bill for policing.
PPS I guarantee there's no risk to the Notting Hill Carnival- for some reason, its £6m pa policing bill is always down to taxpayers (see this blog).