Row simmers over Yorkshire Tour de France police funding

Sport minister says it's "extraordinary" that police expenses were not costed in bid

by John Stevenson   September 6, 2013  

Leeds Headrow and Town Hall (credit Welcome to Yorkshire

The simmering dispute between Whitehall and Yorkshire over the Tour de France Grand Départ bubbled up again yesterday when sports minister Hugh Robertson described the lack of detailed costing of policing for the event as “pretty extraordinary”.

In an answer to a parliamentary question yesterday, Mr Robertson said that the £10 million the government has pledged toward the cost of hosting the Tour did not include policing costs, which were to be met from the £11 million that will be raised by Yorkshire.

He added: “I just say to my hon. Friend, as a gentle point of reference, that if there is controversy about this matter now—I do not know whether there is in Yorkshire—it is pretty extraordinary to have bid for an event without working out how the security is to be paid for.”

There is indeed controversy as police chiefs in Yorkshire examine the requirements for policing such a huge, sprawling event and wonder who is going to foot the bill.

The 2014 Tour de France will start in Leeds on Sunday July 5 with a stage that pops into the Yorkshire Dales and finishes in Harrogate. The following day riders set off from York and head into the Pennines for the hilliest of the three stages that ends in Sheffield. They then transfer to Cambridge for the start of stage three, which will finish in London on The Mall.

Budget "not adequate"

According to the Yorkshire Post, North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan has written to Gary Verity, chief executive of tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire to complain that a “lack of clarity” over policing costs has put North Yorkshire Police in a “very difficult position”. She said the force could have to find half a million pounds to cover the difference between the estimated and actual costs.

Sixty percent of the route of the first two days of the race passes through North Yorkshire, leaving the region’s force bearing the “largest part” of policing costs, Mrs Mulligan said.

She said: “I was very disappointed that in your bid to host this fantastic event, you did not seem to include realistic policing costs in your budgeting, and you did not consult North Yorkshire Police in your calculations for the bid.

“It has now fallen to us to pick up that cost. The initial lack of clarity from yourselves when bidding for this event has left us in a very difficult position as the public sector is under enormous pressure at the moment, with North Yorkshire being no different.”

Mrs Mulligan described the original bid’s budget as “not adequate for the actual cost”.

She told the BBC: “We are the smallest force and we've got the highest bill so it's really important that I do everything that I can to try and secure as much funding as I can to make this a fantastic event.

"We have a bill of at least £500,000, possibly more, up to £1m, and that's a very significant amount for a small police force like North Yorkshire."

TDF 2014 Ltd: "too early to be concerned"

Sir Rodney Walker, chair of the event co-ordinator TDF 2014 Ltd said the cost of policing was “one of the issues we know we still have to address”.

He said: "There is a line in the budget for policing costs. We will continue to work closely with the police to ensure the Grand Départ is successful and Tdf2014 Ltd are already planning to meet the police commissioners to discuss in greater detail the requirements and costings.

“It is far too early to be concerned about this but it is an issue about which I am aware. Within the remit I have from Government there is no prospect of me being able to make any contribution from the £10m I have been given.”

Whitehall versus Yorkshire

Hugh Robertson’s swipe at the Yorkshire bid group is more evidence that Whitehall is not happy about the Grand Départ being in Yorkshire. The government and British Cycling backed the rival bid from Edinburgh, and there was considerable surprise when Yorkshire’s bid won.

In heavily redacted documents obtained by the Yorkshire Post last month UK Sport described Yorkshire’s hosting of the Grand Départ as a “very high risk project,” with “significant financial and logistical challenges.”

UK Sport told the government in March that no public funding should be provided, expressing doubts regarding the “financial and logistical viability of the plans,” as well as having “limited confidence in Welcome to Yorkshire’s leadership of the event.”

It was suggested that Visit England would attempt to rebrand the event as the England Grand Départ, as the route contains a stage from Cambridge to London. That leg is believed to have been included at the request of organiser ASO which wanted a finish closer to the Channel ports to avoid a lengthy transfer back to France.

Preparations for the Cambridge to London leg appear to be going smoothly and without controversy. The most exciting Tour-related news to have emerged from the region recently is the suggestion by South Cambridgeshire MP Andrew Lansley that Prince George of Cambridge should be given a racing bike to mark the Tour visit to the city.

24 user comments

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Typical southern centric politics,

I didn't particularly want £9 billion pounds spent to regenerate Stratford and the Lea Valley, but when you see the National pride and joy brought by the Olympics then you don't begrudge it.

Why is it Whitehall cant get behind anything that isn't London Centric.

I for one one would publically donate towards the costs of bringing the tour to Yorkshire and seeing the pro-peloton race through the stunning countryside rather than paying for constant repeats up Box hill.

Get over it and get on board, London/ Edinburgh are not the centre of the World.

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posted by Magic [5 posts]
6th September 2013 - 12:03

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Magic wrote:

I for one one would publically donate towards the costs of bringing the tour to Yorkshire

You'll probably have to if you live there, i can imagine your council tax bill might be a bit higher next year!

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posted by STATO [410 posts]
6th September 2013 - 12:19

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*Awaits Gkam's response*

posted by farrell [1295 posts]
6th September 2013 - 12:20

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I think the amounts they are talking about £500k to £1 million are not very big considering the amount of money that will come into the local economy and the size of policing budgets.

Just out of interest (and I genuinely don't know) who pays for the extra policing costs incurred for cup football matches ?

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

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posted by badback [264 posts]
6th September 2013 - 12:21

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Given that the bid has gone ahead without adequate funding in place or proper costing I think UK Sports description is somewhat true.

posted by euanlindsay [75 posts]
6th September 2013 - 12:26

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badback wrote:

Just out of interest (and I genuinely don't know) who pays for the extra policing costs incurred for cup football matches ?

The home club are billed by the police force.

posted by euanlindsay [75 posts]
6th September 2013 - 12:28

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badback wrote:
Just out of interest (and I genuinely don't know) who pays for the extra policing costs incurred for cup football matches ?

Unless it's changed from 2008, it depends:
- the deficits from policing outside the ground, listed at the bottom are typically in the 100s of thousands..

From 2011:
"Annually about £25m is spent policing football matches nationwide, but only about £8m is recouped from clubs"

And I *think* this is some sort of guidance from the same year:

posted by JonD [177 posts]
6th September 2013 - 12:37

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I'd be interested in how the policing costs are calculated - I'm quite sure that the police force and local authorities will tend towards over-policing the event. Discussions I've been involved with seem to have an excessive focus on trying to control what the visitors to the event can do rather than looking at how well events like this run elsewhere and taking guidance from that.

Of course the police ought to have been consulted earlier, in fact when the bid was being created, but I would expect they would put in excessive policing and therefore more cost than necessary.

There is a tendancy in this country to over-police events and then find that there are not sufficient resources for everything else. E.G.the police in GM say they only investigate 40% of reported crimes yet there are frequently large numbers of officers out in Manchester policing very low risk events.


posted by shay cycles [210 posts]
6th September 2013 - 13:02

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Can't the local MP just put on his/her expenses?

posted by adscrim [106 posts]
6th September 2013 - 13:07

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Millions of people want the Tour over here
Millions of people will enjoy the Tour over here

The bill for policing the G8 was apparently £75m, I don't think that's worth it and I can't imagine the millions of people wanted it.

posted by kitkat [191 posts]
6th September 2013 - 13:39

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North Yorkshire police huh...

posted by northstar [1083 posts]
6th September 2013 - 13:42

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History repeats itself?

perhaps an FOI request into the failed Scottish bid to see the detail of their figures?

Stands to reason North Yorkshire gets big slice of tourism income as well as policing

posted by langsett [18 posts]
6th September 2013 - 14:15

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Typical Yorkshire attitude when it comes to putting their hands in their pockets. Miserly lot!

posted by andymac [1 posts]
6th September 2013 - 14:46

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ha what a joke, typical northern organisation ....

posted by Karbon Kev [667 posts]
6th September 2013 - 16:48

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£500k? That'll be the bonus and expenses for the Chief Constable and his deputies? So much for self-sacrifice in the spirit of giving to the community they serve

Make mine an Italian with Campagnolo on the side

posted by monty dog [358 posts]
6th September 2013 - 19:11

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NYP should have been involved fom the start. To paraphrase - "build it and then someone will have to pay for it".
But then WTY are a marketing organisation - that's what they do best. Market. They do not run events.
It is unfortunate that BC was not involved (or informed) in the bid, as they do run them.
These facts are well known, both down south and oop north - hence earlier scepticism in official, unconsulted, circles. They are then laughably twisted into anti-Yorkshire sentiments which obscure the facts.

As far as a tourism windfall goes - it's only 2 days. In the high season. Spectacular as it will be, it is not going to make much difference in the long run.

posted by Dr Max [10 posts]
6th September 2013 - 21:03

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By actually reading the article it seems policing is being addressed and this is just another attempt by Whitehall to create loss of confidence within the public for Yorkshire hosting the event.

I am more concerned that London 2012 cost the UK taxpayer billions, London crossrail is costing UK taxpayers over £15 Billion and Boris (who has not had any cuts to budgets and funding) can afford £900 Million on cycling. I also wonder who or where the funding for policing for RideLondon came from? No questions asked from BC or Hugh Robertson then.

It all stems from jealousy and the obsession of London centric. As for saying BC have "experience" in this "sort of thing" tell that to the people who have lost thousands in charity money and entrants who lost £200 each on the BC backed Silverstone 24 SCAM.

Its pathetic attempt to discredit Yorkshire. If the Edinburgh to London bid won the funding would have been unlimited (they only wanted this bid due to the Scotland Vote of independence).

posted by Leodis [170 posts]
7th September 2013 - 8:23

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posted by Leodis [170 posts]
7th September 2013 - 8:27

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Karbon Kev wrote:
ha what a joke, typical northern organisation ....

Like the security at the Olympics? Get a grip you nob

posted by Leodis [170 posts]
7th September 2013 - 8:30

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If you can't afford can't have it.
Come on chaps think of the people filling your hotels/campsites/restaurants/shops(the wags), there is going to be quite a bit of money coming your way one way or another.
I think you all need a positive attitude and stop moaning, not easy if you are from Yorkshire it seems.

posted by cyclingelaine [2 posts]
7th September 2013 - 9:08

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Good luck Yorkshire, ooh that hurt coming from the Red Rose county!


posted by Weft [31 posts]
7th September 2013 - 10:21

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Take no notice of the crime commissioner she is just scare mongering.

When a big event is organised the force that covers it will cancel rest days well in advance so all it costs is a re-rostered rest day which is not financial.

It happens all the time when there is a local derby / demonstration etc etc.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2665 posts]
7th September 2013 - 11:30

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stumps wrote:
Take no notice of the crime commissioner she is just scare mongering.

and trying to deflect the real story she is involved in ... the one where she spent thousands on a " re-branding " exercise and was heavily criticised for ....

Plus as far as I can see from local press the full ( NON ) story goes

Crime commissioner ... You haven't budgeted enough

Question ... how much has been budgeted...

Crime Commissioner ... er ... I don't know .. err can't say err am not allowed to say ..

Question ... So how much should the budget be ?

Crime Commissioner .. err .. Not sure .. err .. can't tell you ... err ... not allowed to tell you...

Question ... So how do you know that it's not enough ...

Crime Commissioner ... Err ... well that should be obvious .....

And Yes, I fully expect a chunk of my council tax to be put aside to help pay for this event just like it is when one of the political parties has a conference in town, only this time I happen to support the idea.

And Yes, I would happily make a donation to support he event if asked

and yes, I do have my name down to help in any way I can to make it a HUGE success ...

posted by fatboyslow [6 posts]
8th September 2013 - 10:34

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NYP were involved, if you look into the facts, the were at they were party to discussions and involved in the earliest visits when M. Prudhomme & co came over.

The issue about BC in or out is history and the fact is that BC are now heavily involved and indeed a major beneficiary of the successful bid

posted by langsett [18 posts]
8th September 2013 - 12:48

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