West Midlands Police has been hit with a £300,000 bill for policing September’s Tory Party Conference in Birmingham.
The cash-strapped force has struggled to cope with government imposed cuts of £126 million since 2010 and is predicting further cuts of £100 million over the next four years.
The force is now being forced to foot 15 per cent of the total policing bill for the conference because of changes to the way the Home Office funds major national events.
Government previously paid the entire cost from a grant to ensure police forces weren’t forced to cut back on crime-fighting to pay for special events.
A report to yesterday’s Strategic Police and Crime Board said the total cost for the event, which was held at the International Convention Centre, topped £2.5 million in police officer overtime.
But only 85 per cent of the cost has been met, with the remainder of the bill handed over to the local police force.
Sniffer dogs, bomb patrols and even a floating police station were drafted in as a ring of steel was thrown around the conference, dubbed Operation Pelkin.
Investment body Marketing Birmingham has claimed the conference generated up to £20 million for the region’s economy.
Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, had told the same meeting that the force has been the “hardest hit in the country” in terms of budget cuts.
He claimed the force was “potentially moving towards a crisis” because of an unfair funding formula set by central government.
And he claimed that if the allocation was calculated on need the West Midlands force would be entitled to an extra £40 million every single year.
He added: “The current funding formula is unfair. It’s just not right that we deal with some of the biggest problems in terms of crime, yet forces like Surrey get substantially more per head in terms of the police grant.
“This has to be addressed. That is why I have been asking local politicians of all parties to come together to try to get something done.
“We are potentially moving towards a crisis and we must do something about it. We are doing everything we can to avert that, but it’s just not going to be possible.
“If the funding formula was based on need we would be getting an extra £40 million per year.”