Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Police seek help with Edinburgh Hogmanay party costs

Hogmanay in Edinburgh Image copyright bbc
Image caption Police Scotland deny claims that the bill could be as much as £250,000

Police Scotland want the organisers of Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations to help pay towards the cost of policing the event for the first time, it has emerged.

The move to start charging follows the introduction of a new national policy on policing commercial events.

The cost has still to be worked out but Police Scotland deny claims it will be as much as £250,000.

Edinburgh city council wants the charges delayed until after 2015.

Singer Lily Allen is to headline this year's Edinburgh's Hogmanay Concert in the Gardens.

Image copyright Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Image caption Lily Allen will headline this year's event

The 29-year-old will play West Princes Street Gardens.

The Hogmanay celebrations are produced by two companies - Unique Events and Underbelly.

When Edinburgh council set the current budget in 2012, policing costs were not factored in.

Last year, more than 300 officers from across the east of Scotland policed the Princes Street event.

Chief Supt Mark Williams, this year's Police Gold Commander, said "We have been working with the City of Edinburgh Council and event organisers for some months to plan and deliver this year's Hogmanay celebrations.

"Part of that dialogue includes the charging arrangements.

"Planning is at an advanced stage and I am certain that all the agencies involved will work together to deliver a fantastic event."

The force told BBC Scotland the bill would be "far less" than the £250,000 figure being quoted by critics, but that the total had still to be worked out.

The new national force, Police Scotland, has introduced a single policy on charging for policing commercial events.

Previously, the old regional police forces had different approaches.

Private security

Police Scotland say they cannot absorb the costs of policing commercial events at the expense of the public purse.

In general, organisers should expect to be charged for the full policing costs.

Police say they will work with event organisers to find ways of minimising the costs - for instance, where private security firms are also being used by the organisers.

The number of officers deployed to the Princes Street party has reduced over time.

But with 85,000 party-goers likely to turn out, a considerable number would still be required to police the event.

Councillor Steve Cardownie, Edinburgh's festivals and events champion, said the council was working "hand in hand with both the local police and the event organisers".

He added: "Any decision on charging is for the Scottish Police Authority to take."

"I advise everyone to make sure they buy their tickets for this year's Hogmanay celebrations before the discount for residents runs out on 28 November.

"It is going to be the place to bring in the bells for 2015."

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