by Charlotte Ikonen
The remaining cost of policing the Bilderberg Group meeting in Watford will be paid by Hertfordshire tax payers after an application for a grant has been refused by the Home Office.
The controversial conference which took place in June 2013 attracted more than 2,000 people to The Grove Hotel and policing the event cost about £990,000.
Scores of officers from a dozen forces were drafted in for the event, which involved roads being closed with anti-terror legislation and a no-fly zone being imposed over the area.
The Bilderberg Group had made a donation of £462,000 and Hertfordshire Police applied to the Home Office for the remaining £528,000.
However, the cost of policing the event fell short of the one per cent threshold (£1.8 million) and was not assessed as bearing a risk to the force’s financial stability or capacity to deliver policing.
Hertfordshire Police and crime commissioner David Lloyd previously said the money would come from reserve and he was “disappointed” to have the application refused by the Home Office.
Councillor Lloyd said: “Along with all other police forces in the country Hertfordshire Constabulary has a core policing duty to prevent crime, maintain the Queen’s Peace, protect the public and prevent damage to property.
“The Bilderberg conference was an exceptional policing challenge that was very successfully policed by the constabulary with several thousand protestors attending over the period of the event.
“The constabulary fulfilled their legal responsibilities and ensured that the event took place peacefully with the minimum of disruption to Hertfordshire’s public and businesses.
“I am disappointed that the Home Office has turned down our grant application though I understand the Home Office’s criteria. Fortunately, our sound financial management means that this decision does not cause us immediate problems or require us to make further immediate savings on policing. Ultimately, this money will come from our reserves and I would have wanted to have this money available for other policing purposes in the county.”
The Home Office explained that Special Grant funding is only available where necessary additional expenditure incurred would create a serius threat to financial stability of a Force and its capacity to deliver normal policing.
They advised that a Special Grant will usually only be considered once the costs reach one per cent of the Force budget and that Forces are generally expected to meet one-off exceptional spend below this level from their own reserves.
The cost of policing the event fell short of the one per cent threshold (£1.8 million) and was not assessed as bearing a risk to the force’s financial stability or capacity to deliver policing.