Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Zara Phillips wedding: Policing cost £400,000

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Media captionMike Tindall and Zara Phillips emerge from Canongate Kirk

The cost of policing the wedding of Zara Phillips and England rugby star Mike Tindall in Edinburgh was £400,000.

Figures from Lothian and Borders police board showed the cost was almost as high as the £543,000 bill for Pope Benedict's visit to Edinburgh.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh watched their granddaughter get married at Canongate Kirk in July.

Strathclyde Police has also raised concern about the cost of policing major events such as religious parades.

Hundreds of wellwishers turned out on the Royal Mile to watch the first royal wedding in Scotland for 20 years.

Other prominent guests included Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince William and Catherine, and Prince Harry.

Buckingham Palace said the wedding was a "private family affair".

The cost of the policing operation, referred to only as Operation Opal, is disclosed in a single paragraph of a report prepared for the police board by Chief Constable David Strang.

The document - Capital City Funding and Policing Major Events - also reveals that £1.32m was spent on policing the Climate Camp protest the previous year, while the Nato parliamentary assembly in 2009 cost £429,000.

The chief constable warned the cost of policing major events was likely to rise in future and urged the board to seek increased Scottish government funding.

The SNP MSP Christine Grahame said private individuals or families should face charges for additional policing as is already the case with large-scale commercial events such as football matches.

She said: "I look at democratic marches which I think shouldn't be charged for, because already they've had a licence to march.

"But private functions and commercial functions that incur additional policing costs, I think those holding them should be forewarned there may be additional charges to them."

A Royal Family spokeswoman said it would be inappropriate to comment.

A spokesman for tourism agency VisitScotland said the wedding boosted visitor numbers.

He said: "It helped to contribute to a bumper summer season for a number of Scotland's regal attractions, with many reporting a spike in visitor numbers as a result of the royal fever which swept the country."

Strathclyde Police has also raised concerns about the cost of policing operations for major events such as religious or political marches, which totalled £1.6m last year.

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