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Force spent extra £150,000 on Olympic Torch relay in Devon and Cornwall

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 02, 2013

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Olympic Torch relay

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The operation to protect the Olympic torch as it passed through Devon and Cornwall cost the police more than £150,000, it has emerged.

The eyes of the world were on Land's End in Cornwall in May as the torch arrived in Britain for the start of its 70-day journey around the country before finally arrived in London.

But it represented a huge logistical exercise for Devon and Cornwall Police which had to ensure the torch's safe passage through the region while dealing with the hundreds of thousands of people who lined the streets.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act have now showed the operation cost the force £154,989 – the bulk of which went on overtime for officers (£92,128) and civilian staff (£15,888).

The final bill also included £16,435 for hotel accommodation, £6,836 for catering services, £5,934 for computer-software maintenance and support, and £1,957 in meal claims.

Chief Superintendent Chris Singer, who was the Olympic Torch Relay silver commander, said months of planning had gone into hosting the event.

"Escorting the Olympic flame as it progressed through the force area was a major logistical challenge and from the outset it was clear that the eyes of the world would be focused on the event," Chief Superintendent Singer said. "The operation involved scores of police officers and staff and we were happy to play our part in this global event.

"The event itself did not bear testimony to the months assessing before the torch set off on its journey around the country.

"The fact that the relay went without a hitch bears testament to all those involved from start to finish and anyone who attended the venues or watch on television will have been left with a positive image of the region."

Costs incurred by the force were far outweighed by the overall economic benefit of hosting the torch, particularly at the beginning of its trip.

A study carried out by Cornwall Development Company showed almost 200,000 spectators came out to view the torch as it made its way through the 21 Duchy communities.

It estimated the economic boost the Cornish economy at £3.77 million.

Cornwall councillor Chris Ridgers said at the time: "The incredible media coverage we received has really put us on the map – sending positive images of Cornwall – both as a destination and as a place with the ability to deliver high-quality events – around the world."

The relay was covered by 240 journalists from around the world, with images being seen by more than one billion viewers worldwide. The public relations value was estimated at almost £17 million nationally.

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  • Takeaway01  |  January 02 2013, 2:44PM

    Willywonka11 - I heard it was 87.5%! There was more money being spent on the police force for the Olympic event, but how do you pair that up with the feel good factor, was it value for money? I say yes :)

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  • doowopper  |  January 02 2013, 2:15PM

    You bunch of moaners commenting on here. I for one totally enjoyed the experience of seeing the torch pass through Cornwall and think it was worth every penny that needed to be spent. What an advert for our county, huge happy crowds, wonderful scenery and weather. Worth a lot more than spending the money on advertising.

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  • Willywonka11  |  January 02 2013, 1:46PM

    @ Jonny2010 ""It estimated the economic boost the Cornish economy at £3.77 million" It's all made up!!! Didn't you know that 75.8% of all statistics are made up..??

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  • ineedtherapy  |  January 02 2013, 1:03PM

    Now take that 150,000 and calculate it as a national cost Now add in the lost business to predominantly small companies - shops - cafe's - etc who were told that the olympics would result in significantly higher business - what a joke that was. Don't forget the costs of the private security firm which had to be bailed out by the armeed forces - another joke The cost of providing the armed forces. Has anybody actually got any idea as to what this actually cost the taxpayer Probably not...but it strikes me that the word "Profit" is not going to apply. And why should it. No country in the history of recent olympics has ever made a profit. The arrogance of our politicians to think that we would be any different is astounding.

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  • Tony248  |  January 02 2013, 11:18AM

    Cost the POLICE more than £150,000? Do you mean they had a whip-round to pay all these extra expenses? Or would it be more accurate to say it cost US £150,000????

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  • nickthompson  |  December 31 2012, 11:14PM

    terry_g: What do you mean PROBABLY?

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  • Big_Ger  |  December 31 2012, 9:16PM

    All counties which the torch passed through would have incurred this extra payment, as there are ill behaved and mendacious people about who would want to spoil the passage of the torch for their own misanthropic ends. It's a non story.

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  • terry_g  |  December 31 2012, 5:22PM

    Every-one rabbits on about the value of the Olympics to the country, now we start to find out what the real costs are. So it's cost £150,000 for the police, how much has it cost Devon and Cornwall councils with all the entertaining and the sucking up to the so-called celebrities. If the country breaks even over this I will be very surprised. But we will probably never know the truth.

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  • Jonny2010  |  December 31 2012, 3:50PM

    "It estimated the economic boost the Cornish economy at £3.77 million" It's all made up!!!

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  • catweazel  |  December 31 2012, 2:23PM

    "Costs incurred by the force were far outweighed by the overall economic benefit of hosting the torch, particularly at the beginning of its trip.It estimated the economic boost the Cornish economy at £3.77 million" Really? This is all very well but the costs incurred by Devon and Cornwall police equate to paying the annual salaries of 4 or 5 police officers who could be out patrolling our streets. Is Cornwall Council/ the British Olympic Committee/ HM Government prepared to refund D&CP this amount? No I didn't think so. Its a no win situation every time for the taxpayer

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