Senior police chiefs have moved to reassure Yorkshire residents that their police council tax contributions next year will not go up as a result of this summer’s Tour de France.
The move comes after the YEP revealed that forces regionally could look to fund extra policing costs over the July 5 and 6 Grand Depart weekend through money raised by the police precept paid charged in council tax.
Yorkshire’s police forces were initially issued £435,000 from the £21m regional Tour budget. It has emerged this will only pay for police planning and bike escorts – and not additional costs such as overtime.
West Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Police have refused to speculate how much more it will cost to fund the policing of the county’s two Tour stages stating they will release figures after the event, despite North Yorkshire Police (NYP) announcing it has set aside £500,000 to cover costs.
Hundreds of police officers will join up to 4,000 accredited stewards and some of the 12,000 volunteer Tour Makers to ensure each of the two Yorkshire stages are delivered safely.
Mark Burns-Williamson, the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, said: “The precept for 2015/16 will be decided next February and will be set in the context of the Government’s budget settlement that we receive in December. The full costs, once they are known, will be released, but at this stage there is no prospect of an extra levy for council tax payers as a result.”
Funding questions were first raised when North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan criticised organisers for failing to take into account policing costs last year.
She has since declared her confidence that NYP’s costs will come in below the £500,000 made available from an underspend in its 2012/13 budget, adding there will be “no impact on the police precept in North Yorkshire” as a result.
Shaun Wright, the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, has moved to assure South Yorkshire taxpayers that “costs will be kept to a minimum where possible” and that there are no plans to raise its precept.
Mr Burns-Williamson said: “This is a huge event bringing together community partners, the public, and many other organisations across West Yorkshire, but particularly Leeds Council as the lead body.
“We’ll be working hard following on from the success of the Olympic Torch police involvement in the region last year to make this as successful to ensure it goes ahead in a safe and enjoyable environment.”
During Le Tour emergency services will be centrally controlled from police premises in Wakefield, working with multi-agency control rooms in key Tour locations such as Leeds and Harrogate, as staff man everyday operations as usual.