21st Apr, 2019

West Midlands taxpayers shouldn't be forking out £430k for Conservative conference, says PCC

Sarah Mason 25th Sep, 2018 Updated: 25th Sep, 2018

TAXPAYERS across the West Midlands should not have been landed with a £430,000 bill to host the Conservative party conference, says the region’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).

The PCC, David Jamieson, has welcomed next week’s event at the ICC in Birmingham and the economic benefits it will bring.

However he said the people of the West Midlands should not have to foot the 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.

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 £1.5million in planning costs, the PCC says.

Mr Jamieson said policing of the conference will cost around £2million 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 PCC will be writing to the Home Secretary Sajid Javid to raise this issue.

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 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 £2million.

“West Midlands Police has suffered the second largest budget cuts of any force in the country – 24 per cent since 2010.

“This is another kick in the teeth for West Midlands Police.”

The conference will take place from 30 September to October 3.

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