West Midlands Police Left With £1m Bill After Terror Attacks

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More than £1m was spent by West Midlands Police on extra staffing costs and overtime during two of this year’s terrorist attacks on UK soil.

The force spent £414,000 responding to the Parsons Green tube station bombing last month, and around £600,000 in the aftermath of the Manchester attack in May, in which 22 people were killed.

WMP Chief Constable Dave Thompson revealed the figures at a meeting of the Strategic Policing and Crime Board.

He warned that whenever the terror threat was raised to its highest level, the additional strain on the force’s resources meant the public received a reduced neighbourhood policing service from West Midlands Police.

It was also revealed that the force is struggling to deal with a backlog of 2,500 unresolved calls, sparked mainly by increased demand and staff shortages.

Mr Thompson said there were ‘financial and resource implications’ whenever the threat level is stepped up to critical, outlining what he described as the ‘serious consequential issues’ of the UK’s increased terror threat.

He said ‘a considerable operation’ was put in place by the force on the night of the Parsons Green attack. “Whilst the public are reassured to see an increase in policing at such times, it is important to recognise that there are no new police,” he added.

“It is simply that the force is working longer hours. There was a diversion of around £250,000 in on duty resources that are diverted to deliver the high-profile policing effect,” he said.

“That is a significant level of redeployment of the force across a weekend.” He added that an additional cost in excess of £150,000 was incurred for vehicles and overtime.

According to Mr Thompson, the Manchester attack cost West Midlands Police £610,000.

Mr Thompson said the implications included a ‘significant’ increase in the number of open call logs, and added: “Members of the public don’t receive as prompt a service from us, and the amount of pro-active activity devoted against crime becomes quite challenging.

“My concern is that having resourced operations when the threat level is critical twice this year, we need to be mindful that this may be something that becomes a more regular occurrence in terms of the operational impact on policing.”

Gary Cann, Assistant Chief Constable, said the force had faced a backlog of up to 2,000 open call logs at times during the weekend of the Parsons Green attack.

He said, “Our demand did not go up hugely, but our ability to respond to the demand we had downgraded significantly.”

In response to a recent report which outlined the effects that budget cuts were having on resources, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said it proved the Government ‘is failing in its duty to give the police the funding they need to protect the public’.

He said, “In the West Midlands it costs us £100,000 a day whilst at the critical terror threat level and for some days after.

“Officers doing longer shifts then need to be rested, meaning the return to normal neighbourhood policing duties can take up to a week.

“Real terms increases in funding are required to enable police forces to carry on their crucial work, to tackle ever more complicated crimes and threats and ensure neighbourhood policing is provided for our communities.”

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