Cash compromise in airport policing row

A COMPROMISE has been reached in the row between the police and the owners of Stansted Airport over increased costs of securing the country's major departure points.

A COMPROMISE has been reached in the row between the police and the owners of Stansted Airport over increased costs of securing the country's major departure points.

Essex Police announced earlier this year that it faced a potential budget shortfall of £1million because Stansted was refusing to pay its latest full costs. However, the airport hit back, arguing that some of the policing services charged for were unnecessary.

Yesterday, the force announced it had agreed a settlement for the outstanding debt for airport policing for the last financial year 2005/06 with Stansted Airport Ltd (STAL).

While both parties are remaining tight-lipped about the actual figure, insiders confirm a compromise in the region of £750,000 has been reached.


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A spokesman for Essex Police said: “The settlement, paid by STAL on Tuesday 18 July 2006 means that the force has now recovered all of its directs costs, an appropriate sum for overheads plus a small sum for the lost interest suffered by the force as a result of the delayed payments.

“Chief Constable Roger Baker and the airport operator have now agreed to work together on producing a binding 'police services agreement' for 2006/07.”

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Riccardo Tazzini, director of finance with Essex Police added: “I am delighted that we have been able to secure the reimbursement of a substantial sum of public money for last year. We now look forward to negotiating an appropriate level of resource in accordance with national guidelines to ensure that Stansted continues to remain a very safe airport.”

A spokesman for Stansted Airport said: “We are happy the matter has been settled and we are now getting on with the business of working out an agreement for the current financial year.”

The force claimed Stansted Airport Ltd (STAL) - a subsidiary of BAA plc - had paid only £5.7m of the £6.7m it owed for the last year.

Essex Chief Constable Roger Baker threatened if STAL did not pay, he would be forced to either remove 25 officers from frontline services or ask for a 1.4% increase in council tax grant.

However, Stansted Airport justified holding back the money saying it was in dispute over the costs associated with policing arrangements at the airport.

Airport chiefs particularly dispute Operation Swordfish, in which Essex Police gives separate, special protection to Israeli air services, which is not done at other airports.

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