Northern Ireland

Carl Frampton fight: £30K policing bill for world title boxing match

Carl Frampton became the IBF super-bantamweight world champion after beating Kiko Martinez in Belfast in September Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Carl Frampton became the IBF super-bantamweight world champion after beating Kiko Martinez in Belfast in September

More than £30,000 was paid out of the public purse towards the cost of policing a world title boxing match in Belfast earlier this year.

The promoter of the Carl Frampton fight, Barry McGuigan, paid £5,000 towards the policing bill.

The total policing bill for the event, at Titanic slipways in September, came in at £35,585. The promoter paid what was described as an "abated cost".

The amounts were revealed in a freedom of information request to the PSNI.

Frampton outpointed Spain's Kiko Martinez to secure the world IBF super-bantamweight title, in front of 16,000 boxing fans.

'Additional spend'

In its answer to the FoI request, a police spokesperson said the "abated cost" was agreed prior to the event and was "in line with PSNI and Association of Chief Police Officers charging policy".

It is understood the bill was higher than would have been expected at an event of this nature, due to additional discretionary spend by the PSNI.

Extra security measures were put in place because of the high-profile nature of the event and the risk of reputational damage to Northern Ireland, were anything to go wrong.

It is believed the cost, without the additional security, would have been closer to £10,000.

A police source said: "The PSNI billed the promoter for an amount which was deemed to be proportionate and fair."

'No conflict'

In October, Northern Ireland's Justice Minister David Ford said First Minister Peter Robinson should have declared an interest in the fight, which received £300,000 in public money, including £250,000 from the Northern Ireland Executive.

The Irish News newspaper reported that Mr Robinson's son Gareth helped to promote the event.

Mr Robinson had asked Mr Ford about the PSNI's charging policy around such events.

The first minister rejected any idea that there had been a conflict of interest and said the discussion at the executive related to the general policy of police charging for events.

`"There was no suggestion whatsoever at any time to influence decisions pertaining to the IBF (International Boxing Federation) event in Belfast," the DUP leader said.

"Rather this was merely the catalyst for the discussion. No conflict could therefore have arisen."

'Profits'

The Association of Chief Police Officers uses a charging policy to decide how much of the cost of policing an event should be paid by those who organise it.

It uses a scoring system. Points are awarded for things like whether a promoter is involved; whether people have to pay in; whether the performers are paid; and whether there are trader concessions.

Depending on the points accumulated, a decision is taken on whether to seek no payment, part payment or full payment.

The ACPO policy says: "Where an event is considered to be substantially commercial, it should meet the cost of additional policing required.

"The principle which should be applied in the charging policy is that, where an event is categorised as commercial, the organiser should be charged the full economic cost of the special police services provided.

"This approach is based on the premise that private persons or organisations should not be able to enhance their profits at the expense of the public funds supporting the police service."

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