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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Why are the police trying to hide the true cost of securing the papal visit?

The Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, Meredydd Hughes, who is co-ordinating the police authorities who will secure the events in the papal visit, has announced that security costs are likely to be between £1 million and £1.5 million.

But the president of the National Secular Society has dismissed this figure as “total nonsense.”

Terry Sanderson, president of the NSS said: “It is already officially recorded in committee minutes of the Metropolitan Police that the “very early” starting estimate for policing the London element alone of the pope’s visit were £1.8 million. See paragraph 95.26.

In Scotland, a tabloid newspaper had obtained a blueprint of the security arrangements there which estimated the cost for the one day Scottish visit to be £10 million. Another newspaper, on good authority, estimates £70 million.

Mr Sanderson continued: “Mr Hughes himself described the security arrangements as “an unprecedented police operation across the country” and yet he imagines it can all be achieved for £1.5million. Is he deliberately trying to pull the wool over our eyes to forestall any further controversy over the cost of this visit?”

Published Thu, 09 Sep 2010