HC Deb 01 November 2000 vol 355 cc518-9W
Mr. Hammond

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 27 July 2000, if he will explain the reasons underlying his decision not to classify the period of residence of Senator Pinochet in Surrey as an unforeseen burden on Surrey Police, committing them to exceptional additional expenditure and as being an event of international dimension, arising as a consequence of a decision by the Government. [133958]

Mr. Charles Clarke

The total additional costs for protecting Senator Pinochet were estimated at £750,000, which was around 0.8 per cent. of the budget of the Surrey police in 1999–2000. Once account is taken of the special payment of –200,000 made in March 1999 the proportion of the additional costs that fell on the Surrey police was reduced to 0.6 per cent. of the force's 1999–2000 budget.

When the special payment was made in March 1999, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary indicated to the Chief Constable that it was unlikely that he would be able to give Surrey police a further special payment for the additional costs incurred during 1999–2000.

Consideration of the Police Authority's further request for a special grant in March suggested that Surrey police had been able to accommodate the extra costs without a reduction in the level of service provided by the force. During 1999–2000, police numbers in Surrey increased by 123 to 1,785, the highest they have ever been. In view of such favourable indicators it was decided that a further special payment was not justified.