Force spent extra £150,000 on Olympic Torch relay in Devon and Cornwall
The operation to protect the Olympic torch as it passed through Devon and Cornwall cost the police more than £150,000, it has emerged.
The eyes of the world were on Land's End in Cornwall in May as the torch arrived in Britain for the start of its 70-day journey around the country before finally arrived in London.
But it represented a huge logistical exercise for Devon and Cornwall Police which had to ensure the torch's safe passage through the region while dealing with the hundreds of thousands of people who lined the streets.
Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act have now showed the operation cost the force £154,989 – the bulk of which went on overtime for officers (£92,128) and civilian staff (£15,888).
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
The final bill also included £16,435 for hotel accommodation, £6,836 for catering services, £5,934 for computer-software maintenance and support, and £1,957 in meal claims.
Chief Superintendent Chris Singer, who was the Olympic Torch Relay silver commander, said months of planning had gone into hosting the event.
"Escorting the Olympic flame as it progressed through the force area was a major logistical challenge and from the outset it was clear that the eyes of the world would be focused on the event," Chief Superintendent Singer said. "The operation involved scores of police officers and staff and we were happy to play our part in this global event.
"The event itself did not bear testimony to the months assessing before the torch set off on its journey around the country.
"The fact that the relay went without a hitch bears testament to all those involved from start to finish and anyone who attended the venues or watch on television will have been left with a positive image of the region."
Costs incurred by the force were far outweighed by the overall economic benefit of hosting the torch, particularly at the beginning of its trip.
A study carried out by Cornwall Development Company showed almost 200,000 spectators came out to view the torch as it made its way through the 21 Duchy communities.
It estimated the economic boost the Cornish economy at £3.77 million.
Cornwall councillor Chris Ridgers said at the time: "The incredible media coverage we received has really put us on the map – sending positive images of Cornwall – both as a destination and as a place with the ability to deliver high-quality events – around the world."
The relay was covered by 240 journalists from around the world, with images being seen by more than one billion viewers worldwide. The public relations value was estimated at almost £17 million nationally.