The £6.5m cost of policing the Olympic Torch – get the data

Policing the Olympic torch procession cost taxpayers almost £6.5m nationally, according to a series of Freedom of Information requests by Gesbeen Mohammad.

The spending includes the costs incurred to local police authorities throughout the UK for the 56 days the Olympic Torch went around the country.

The Metropolitan Police Service spent the most – not surprisingly as the torch spent a week in London and was perhaps the most obvious target for disruption.

Over a quarter of their spending – half a million – was spent on overtime for police and staff. The figure includes a £850,000 grant the Metropolitan Police Service received from the Home Office. Continue reading

The £1m cost of policing the Northern Ireland Olympic torch relay

Help Me Investigate contributor Gesbeen Mohammad has written for Northern Ireland investigative site The Muckraker on the costs of policing the Olympic Torch Relay in the region.

She writes:

“The final bill for taxpayers came to £1,029,749 – £205,950 for every day the torch spent in the region, according to information revealed by Freedom of Information requests.

“In comparison London’s Metropolitan Police Service spent less than £150,000 for every day the torch spent in the capital. The Service covers a population more than six times larger than Northern Ireland’s.

“Debra Whyte, media centre manager for the Police Service of Northern Ireland, said: “The additional costs were due to the Olympic Torch Relay falling over two public holidays in Northern Ireland, and covering a larger geographical area.”

“Police in Wales, however, covering an area a third larger than Northern Ireland, also spent less.”

Wealthy London boroughs paid less for Olympic Torch Relay – investigation

Image attribution: Angryoffinchley

Image: Angryoffinchley

London boroughs with the poorest populations paid more to host Olympic Torch Relay events, while more affluent boroughs spent nothing, according to an investigation by Help Me Investigation users.

Waltham Forest spent over £250,000 whereas Westminster incurred no costs.

Government data shows that Westminster has more than six times the number of active businesses compared with Waltham Forest, despite having a smaller population. Continue reading

Council silence over “destroyed” correspondence with Olympic body

Somerset Olympic torch relay announcement

One council appeared to save hundreds of thousands of pounds on the Olympic Torch Relay by getting Olympic organisers LOCOG to pay their costs – but for six months they have denied having any records of how that happened. Carol Miers reports on the curious case of Somerset County Council.

Continue reading

Hartlepool Council drilled about festival funds raid for Olympic torch relay

Hartlepool Mail olympic torch relay piece

Hartlepool Council have defended their decision to fund part of the Olympic Torch Relay with money intended for a maritime festival.

The Hartlepool Mail spoke to the council after finding out about the spending through Help Me Investigate. They report:

“The Maritime Festival had a budget of £35,000 and officers say around 10 per cent of that, plus external sports funding, covered the £10,000 cost of hosting the Olympic Torch.

[A council spokesman said] “The bulk of the Maritime Festival budget was spent on staging the Diamond Festival, a celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee which took place on the weekend of June 2/3 – two weeks prior to the arrival of the torch.

“The subsequent decision to end the Maritime Festival was part of the council’s wide-ranging strategy to deal with Government budget cuts and it had nothing whatsoever to do with the money spent on hosting the Olympic Torch.”

 

Useful Olympic links for May 21st through June 7th

Olympic news roundup for 11:21:

Press Association repeats Olympic torch relay costs investigation – 3 months after Help Me Investigate

Olympic torch relay costs

The Press Association has picked up on the costs of the Olympic torch relay as it reports on the anniversary of the start of the event

Dozens of regional newspapers across the UK have published the newswire story on the “£6m cost of Olympic torch relay” – first revealed on Help Me Investigate following Freedom of Information requests by contributors including Carol Miers, Juliet Ferguson, Jess Denham and Steve Walker.

The article says that “figures were obtained by the Press Association under the Freedom of Information Act.”

Help Me Investigate reported on responses to an initial 100 FOI requests in February this year, and published an interactive database of costs with The Guardian in March. Continue reading

Stoke and Huddersfield papers report on torch relay costs

Stoke Olympic torch relay costs

The Stoke Sentinel and Huddersfield Examiner have reported on Freedom of Information requests from Help Me Investigate about torch relay spending.

This is Staffordshire report on the £189,730 cost of the relay to Stoke-on-Trent City Council, while The Huddersfield Daily Examiner’s Linda Whitwam asks “Was [the £56,000 cost] worth it?” Continue reading