Speaking on BBC Newsnight tonight, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Andy Trotter confirmed that policing the forthcoming visit by George Bush would cost Londoners at least five million pounds.
All Londoners pay a precept on their Council Tax to cover the policing of the Capital. Few – if any of us – expected this years contribution to be spent guarding the US President. Mr Blair has ensured this visit has the status of an official State Visit, Londoners are therefore justified in expecting the State to pick up the tab.
What policing will Londoners have to go without this year (and next?) following payment of this unwanted bill? How will Mr Blunkett explain to the elderly victims of muggers why there are less police on our streets so Mr Bush can feel safe at night?
State visits should continue to take place, they are the normal currency of good diplomatic realtions, and guests of our nation must be secure and safe. However the cost of national responsibilities should always be met by national government, not the local tax payer.
London’s Assembly, Mayor and would-be Mayor’s have been fairly silent on this matter. Where have Londons’ defenders gone while her purse is snatched?