PCC welcomes Conservative Conference to Birmingham, but doesn’t think the people of the West Midlands should pick up the bill
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner has
welcomed the Conservative Party Conference to Birmingham and the
economic benefits the event will bring, but thinks the people of
the West Midlands should not have to foot a £430,000 bill for
planning the security of the event, given the huge cuts West
Midlands Police has faced.
The city has hosted the party three times in the last five
years, meaning that these are costs not felt by most other areas.
This year 13 officers and staff were part of the planning team for
the conference full time, with further staff and officers working
part time on the operation. The team began work several months ago.
Since 2014 West Midlands Police has lost out on nearly £1.5 million
in planning costs.
The policing of the conference will cost around £2 million
which is paid for by the government, but there is still a £430,000
bill for the force's public purse in planning costs.
The Police and Crime Commissioner will be writing to the
Home Secretary to formally raise this issue in the coming
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson,
"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 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 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.
"West Midlands Police has suffered the second largest budget
cuts of any force in the country - 24% since 2010. This is another
kick in the teeth for West Midlands Police."
The conference will take place from 30 September to October
3 at the ICC.
Earlier this month, the independent
National Audit Office's report into police funding
highlighted that West Midlands Police (24%) has been hit more than
twice as hard by the cuts than forces such as leafy, low crime
Since 2014 the Labour Party's Annual Conferences have taken
place in Brighton, Manchester and Liverpool and the Conservative
Party's have alternated between Birmingham and Manchester, meaning
the costs are falling on a small number of mainly urban