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PARTY SECURITY HITS POLICE FUNDS

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A Scottish police force claims the cost of providing security for a Tory Party conference is partly responsible for...
A Scottish police force claims the cost of providing security for a Tory Party conference is partly responsible for its projected £1.1 million overspend.

Grampian chief constable Ian Oliver claims his force had to find almost £700,000 for extra security for prime minister John Major and his colleagues when they visited the Scottish Tory Party conference at Aberdeen in May.

The conference was defined as 'regional' so it did not attract central government funding.

Dr Oliver has told members of the Grampian joint police board that it faces cutting the numbers of police officers - a move which could place him in breach of his statutory duty to provide an efficient service.

Scottish home affairs minister Lord James Douglas-Hamilton said Dr Oliver had written to his officials, but had given 'no indication that the force is heading for 'bankruptcy' or that redundancies may be required'.

But the minister said the government was reviewing a 10- year-old agreement between the main political parties that special grants were only available to forces policing national conferences.

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