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 HMI Olympics.

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 GM 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

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

Correction: CCTV spending by Aberdeen City, not Aberdeenshire Council

We previously reported that Aberdeenshire had spent part of their torch relay funds on CCTV. This should have said Aberdeen City Council.

We apologise for the error. The original post, and the database, have been corrected.

Aberdeen City Council’s torch relay expenditure can be found here.

Aberdeenshire Council’s funding of torch relay costs can be found here; it is also detailed below.

  • Staff Costs £ 5,912.30
  • Road Closures/Advertisements etc £ 7,640.67
  • Construction Costs £ 4,026.20
  • Vehicle Charges £ 1,613.25
  • Florescent Vests £ 200.00 (retained for future use)
  • Event at Balmoral Castle £ 7,988.62
  • Total Cost £27,381.04

Sutton Guardian picks up Olympic torch relay figures

The Sutton Guardian have reported on local spending on the Olympic torch relay disclosed as part of Help Me Investigate’s investigation.

Mike Pyle writes that the local council paid £9,000 for the torch’s journey through the area. This covered stewards, barriers, road closures, road signs, St John Ambulance staff, street cleaning and publicity.

Those costs combined came to less than a fifth of the cost of bunting in the area, one of the highest in the country: £50,000 was used from another local government body to fund the decorations.


The Olympic letters that cost as much as road closures – Birmingham

The Birmingham Mail have published one of the stories from our investigation into torch relay spending:

“Birmingham City Council spent over £16,000 on letters to residents when the Olympic torch relay came through the region – almost as much as it spent on road closures.

“Birmingham’s costs, including £9,000 for security, came to £43,000.

“Neighbouring Walsall spent just under £22,000 on their leg of the relay, despite it spending less than three hours in the region, with security costs coming to £11,000 and a further £2,220 spent on staff overtime.”