Sheffield MP calls for Government to fully reimburse South Yorkshire Police over Trump visit

Clive Betts MP.
Clive Betts MP.

A Sheffield MP has called for the Government to reimburse South Yorkshire Police for the cost of policing demonstrations against US President Donald Trump's visit to the UK.

Mr Trump's four-day visit has sparked mass protests in London and other cities across the country over what protesters described as 'racist, sexist and discriminatory' comments made before and during his election campaign in 2016.

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A crowd of several hundred protesters are expected to gather outside Sheffield City Hall at 5pm today to make their voices heard at an event organised by Sheffield Together Against Trump.

Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts, chair of the housing, communities and local government select committee, has now called on the Government to fully reimburse South Yorkshire Police for the cost of local police officers who have been deployed to other parts of the UK to provide security for the official visit.

Mr Betts said that although South Yorkshire Police will be reimbursed for the direct costs of the officers deployed, that does not cover "'the whole cost, nor the massive disruption both to local policing and to the lives of local police officers and their families."

He claimed the chief constable has been forced to cancel all weekly leave, and police officers have had to be called in at overtime and rest-day working rates, and these will not be reimbursed.

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Clive Betts challenged Police Minister Nick Hurd in Parliament to meet the full costs of the deployment.

He said: "It is the government who decided to invite President Trump to the UK – although they are probably regretting it now – but the people of South Yorkshire who are paying the cost of it.

“Whatever the outcome of this challenge, it was good to receive ministerial confirmation and congratulation to South Yorkshire Police on being the most improved police service in the country.

"I do not think it is any coincidence that considerable progress has been made since the departure of the previous chief constable and the arrival of the new one.

"Despite the government’s funding restrictions, things are now looking up for policing in South Yorkshire. Reimbursement of all the costs of President Trump’s visit would help.”

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Mr Hurd said: "I am very aware that this is a very significant policing operation, which has significant short-term costs but also has implications for the force management of local forces for some time.

"We do have a mechanism to help with the short-term costs. As I said to the chairman of the select committee, we are doing serious work on the funding requirements for local police forces, and we will bring that back to the house for debate in late November or December."