Government pledges further £2.5million to Wiltshire Police after 'exceptional' costs

Friday 24 August 2018

Mutual aid officers on the cordons in Salisbury

The Government has pledged a further £2.5 million to help cover the costs of the Novichok related incidents in Salisbury and Amesbury.

Operational costs for Wiltshire Police are projected to exceed £10 million pounds, with the Government having reimbursed £4.1 million pounds previously this further £2.5 million pounds brings the total costs reclaimed by the Force to £6.6 million pounds.

In a letter to Wiltshire and Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner, Policing Minister Nick Hurd MP, acknowledged the 'excellent work undertaken by officers and staff in response to these incidents' and recognised that the incidents had 'placed an unprecedented pressure on Wiltshire Police.'

PCC Angus Macpherson has said that he fully expects all costs associated with the operation to be met centrally by the Government.

Mr Macpherson said: "These exceptional major incidents have meant that Wiltshire Police resources have been stretched more than ever and we have required the support of officers from 40 forces around the country and I'm grateful that the Policing Minister has recognised this.

"The money reimbursed to us so far matches our outgoings in regards to the operations so the Force is not operating at a deficit.

"I have been in frequent contact with the Policing Minister, and those conversations remain an absolute priority for me, to ensure that policing in Wiltshire and Swindon is not affected by the financial implications of these high profile and complex major incidents."

Wiltshire Police has also announced that Queen Elizabeth Gardens, in the centre of Salisbury which was visited by Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley before they were taken ill in June and has been cordoned off ever since will be reopened to the public today.

Mr Macpherson added: "Having been out and about in the Salisbury and Amesbury since this incident, I've heard first-hand how important the gardens are for the community so I am delighted it can be returned to them to enjoy over the Bank Holiday weekend.

"The removal of the cordon signifies a positive step forward in terms of the recovery of the city and also the reduction of policing resource required at cordons. 

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have worked tirelessly since the incident began to ensure the safety of members of the public in both Amesbury and Salisbury. This includes Wiltshire Police officers, staff and volunteers, as well as our mutual aid colleagues, security officers and a significant amount of partner agencies - both locally and nationally.

"I would also like to thank the public for their continued support and patience."