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Tory conferences in Birmingham ‘will leave West Midlands police £1.2m out of pocket’

Tory conferences in Birmingham ‘will leave West Midlands police £1.2m out of pocket’

🕔02.Sep 2016

West Midlands Police will be left to pick up a £460,000 bill for planning security arrangements at this year’s Conservative conference in Birmingham unless the Government has a change of heart, it emerged today.

While the Home Office will pay £2.1 million towards policing the event in Birmingham, it will not contribute towards the cost of a police conference planning team which has been working for a year.

David Jamieson, the Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands, said it was unfair his force, already hit badly by Government grant cuts, should have to find the money.

Mr Jamieson added that with the Tory conference returning to Birmingham in 2018 and 2020, the total cost of “meticulous and extensive planning” to be met by the force could total £1.5 million over the next four years.

In a letter to Home Secretary Amber Rudd, Mr Jamieson welcomed the arrival of the Tory conference at the ICC on October 2, adding that the event would be good for the Birmingham economy. However, it was unfair for the people of the West Midlands to pay for the four-day event.

He is seeking urgent talks with the Home Secretary to resolve the matter.

Mr Jamieson said:

I welcome political parties bringing their conferences to the West Midlands as they provide an important boost to the economy. I want to see more conferences not fewer. And the safety of people attending conferences 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.

For big events like the Conservative Party Conference, a dedicated planning team of 24 officers and staff is required. The team from West Midlands Police began work for this year’s conference last autumn and is costing approximately £460,000. That’s £460,000 the Home Office will not pay for.

Significantly, in 2014 when Birmingham last hosted the conference, the costs of this planning team reached £520,000. With Birmingham set to host the Conservative Party Conference again in 2018 and 2020, the next four years could cost the force £1.5m if this issue is not resolved.

West Midlands Police has suffered the largest budget cuts of any force in the country – £130million since 2010 and, despite promises to the contrary, West Midlands Police is still receiving cuts of £2.5m a year.

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