Should political parties pay for policing at conferences?

policeFollowing a Freedom of Information request the BBC has obtained figures for the amounts spent on policing political party conferences.

It seems that over the last five years the Home Office has provided £106 million in special grants to fund the police presence at one-off events such as major protests or the Royal wedding. £50 million of that has gone on party conferences.

Some commentators have suggested that since music festivals and football clubs have to pay for policing their events, so political parties should do the same.

The other parties have defended the current practice:

A Conservative spokesman said neither his party or any of the others pay for policing.

He said: “We contribute a significant amount of economic benefit to the cities where our conferences are held.

“The contribution to Manchester in 2013 was £24.6m, and our conference in 2012 contributed £16.5m to Birmingham.”

And a Labour Party Spokesperson said: “The Labour Party does not pay for conference security.

“It is a decision made by the Home Office in conjunction with the local police force and we are very happy to co-operate with them.”

The Liberal Democrats were contacted by the BBC but have not provided a comment.

So what is our view on this?

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames and is a member of Federal Conference Committee.

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

10 Comments

  • Simon Oliver 11th Feb '14 - 2:18pm

    We should have virtual conference attendance so that fewer people attend in person and the overall need for security and space is reduced.

  • Alisdair McGregor 11th Feb '14 - 6:27pm

    The main reason the cost of policing Sheffield was so high was Labour were spreading lies about us…

    I doubt most LibDems want the level of security we already have at conference; many would baulk at paying for it.

  • “The Liberal Democrats were contacted by the BBC but have not provided a comment”

    Difficult to know if I should laugh or cry at this statement. Why has the party failed to give the BBC a comment?

    It is not party policy to change the funding for policing of conferences .

    How difficult would it have been for one of the many media people employed by party to have put that sentence together?
    In this age of outsourcing I will give this sentence to the party’s media machine for a very small fee. I do not need £100,000 per year like that nice South African chap, you can have this sentence for a fiver.

  • I enjoy both bootball matches and political conferences but they can’t be compared in this way. Policing for football matches is there because historically there have been many fights between fans. The police aren’t present just at the ground, they also patrol local pubs, train stations, walking routes to the stadium etc. to prevent fights from breaking out. The police don’t attend political conferences to prevent fights between conference delegates, they attend to protect MPs and delgates etc from outside threats. Take that to it’s logical conclusion and if the police were to ask for direct payment from everyone they protect where would that lead us to – a mafia state?

  • Scott Walker is right, there is little similarity between a football match and a Liberal Democrat conference.

    The numbers involved are hugely different. The Etihad will seat 47,000 fans at a match. Under Clegg the membership of the party has declined so much that every single member could fit into the stadium with room to spare. Of course the numbers attending the conference is very much smaller than this.

    I am not sure how many people attend the Spring Conference nowadays but I did notice that on the back page of AdLib there is an advert for a coach to York with cheap fares. So I guess at least fifty people might get there. They could have a whip round to pay a local bobby to police them once they arrive I suppose.

  • The claimed economic contributions/benefit to Manchester and Birmingham seem rather high. Be interested to see some breakdown and rational for the figures, suspect the ‘special grants’ account for a few hundred thousand of the claimed benefit …

  • Football Clubs pay for policing inside their ground. Policing outside the ground is part of normal police spending.

  • I agree with Scott. There’s actually a really fundamental point here about the right of free association.

  • Only charge political parties if all others are charged … particularly the Royal Family. Eliminate all police protection for lesser royals – let them go at their own risk!

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 5th Dec - 4:24pm
    Peter Theresa May managed to preside over a completely shambolic attempt to deliver the referendum result. then The call for a second vote was yet...
  • User AvatarJohn Hall 5th Dec - 4:21pm
    Let us not forget that the Thatcherites quietly introduced PR for local elections into N Ireland to give minorities a fair voice, well before being...
  • User AvatarAndrew T 5th Dec - 4:14pm
    I'm dreading party infighting over a "poor" result. FPTP and the fact we are miles behind in all but a handful of constituencies combined with...
  • User AvatarPeter 5th Dec - 4:03pm
    A referendum is a mechanism for letting the people decide on an important single issue in an unambiguous way. It is normal convention for parliamentarians...
  • User AvatarJohn Littler 5th Dec - 3:54pm
    Jo did well with Andrew Neil and far better than the interview with poor Tim Farron in 2017, where Neil did repeated interruption techniques. She...
  • User AvatarJohn Littler 5th Dec - 3:49pm
    Rural areas are often not connected to the gas mains and are reliant on deliveries of fuel oil. These are run by a monopolist with...
Tue 10th Dec 2019