Region’s police confident £160k Tour de France overtime bill will not be repeated

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Milsom, of West Yorkshire Police.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Milsom, of West Yorkshire Police.
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The cost of overtime for West Yorkshire Police staff alone during the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart surpassed £160,000.

With just one day to go until the Tour de Yorkshire, figures obtained by the Yorkshire Evening Post shed light on how the region’s police force had to foot an overtime bill which fell outside the Government’s £27m budget last year.

Mark Cavendish leads the peloton down The Headrow, Leeds, for the start of the 2014 Tour de France. Picture by Simon Hulme.

Mark Cavendish leads the peloton down The Headrow, Leeds, for the start of the 2014 Tour de France. Picture by Simon Hulme.

West Yorkshire Police spent £164,000 on more than 5,900 overtime hours on July 5 and 6 last year at a time when the force is in the midst of trying to save £163.5m by 2016/17 due to Government cutbacks.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Milsom, who led the police operation last year and will do so again this week, has reassured taxpayers that the burden will be far less on the police this year.

A “bubble” of around 60 highly-trained motorcycle riders, which co-organisers Welcome to Yorkshire have pledged to fully fund at £300,000, will allow rolling road closures from May 1 to 3 while fewer officers will be needed en route.

Mr Milsom said: “There is bound to be some overtime because that is the nature of the beast, but I think it will be very small indeed.”

Last year, of the national £27m Tour budget, only £435,000 was issued to police for planning but nothing was allocated for extra on-the-ground policing costs.

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said that Le Tour’s sheer size meant that “naturally there would be an elevated policing requirement” but that all investment saw a “hugely positive return”.

He said: “The Tour de Yorkshire requires considerably less policing to deliver the race and we’re all working closely to minimise disruption.”

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