LEAFLETS offering advice over the new policy to charge for policing public events are to be distributed across Cambridgeshire. The Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire, Julie Spence, said on Wednesday, June 3, that there would be no charge for village events

LEAFLETS offering advice over the new policy to charge for policing public events are to be distributed across Cambridgeshire.

The Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire, Julie Spence, said on Wednesday, June 3, that there would be no charge for village events or those in small towns. She added that the current charges were a fraction of the actual cost.

As an example, she said the cost of policing Strawberry Fair, held on the first Saturday of June each year on Midsummer Common, Cambridge, was £80,000. However, the organisers would be charged only £1,500 this year - and the charge was only ever expected to rise to 30 per cent of the true cost for such events.

Mrs Spence said: "We are not charging the full cost and clearly, when the event is small, we are not charging at all. But some events in Cambridge are not just for local people. You can tell from the numbers arriving at the railway station. This is taxpayers' money and it is fair that some people are not always paying for the pleasures of others. This is national ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) guidance."

In a statement, Cambridgeshire Police said the policy was an attempt to spread the cost of policing so that taxpayers throughout Cambridgeshire were not expected to foot the entire bill for events well outside their communities.

The charging system is graded over a period of several years and is designed to start with a token payment, rising eventually to a sum that is closer to the real cost.

The statement said: "We have policed many, many events without charge for decades. But the fact is that some events have grown enormously and take many thousands of pounds and many extra police hours to ensure public safety. It is only right that the organisers of major events, in particular, should make a contribution.

"We appreciate that the organisers of many smaller events may be concerned about having to pay. The leaflets are available for guidance, and further help and advice will also be available through our neighbourhood policing teams.