Michael Fabricant has met with John Giffard, the Chief Constable of
Staffordshire, in the House of Commons to discuss the charges the police
intend to levy for policing the Lichfield Greenhill Bower in the Queen’s
Jubilee Year. Michael Fabricant says "We all pay income taxes and we all
pay Council Tax, Lichfield residents pay more than most in Staffordshire
because of the value of the housing stock. I believe it is wrong that local
charities should be short changed because fees are being introduced by
Staffordshire Police this year".
The private meeting between the Chief Constable and Michael Fabricant took
place after a larger meeting with local Staffordshire MPs. Mr Giffard
told Labour and Conservative MPs that while the Government had upped the
settlement this year by 2.5% in Staffordshire, the Government have also
announced police wage increases of 3.5% which must be paid for locally.
To compound matters still further, the Chief Constable said that under the
Government’s funding formula, Staffordshire does particularly badly compared
with other police constabularies in the UK.
"I recognise that Staffordshire Police are underfunded", Michael Fabricant
told the Chief Constable "and I hope that all Staffordshire MPs will play
their part in pressuring the Government for fair funding. But while I
support the police in reclaiming their costs from commercial events such as
football matches, I do think it is wholly inappropriate for them to attempt
to do so from non-profit making charitable events such as the Lichfield
Bower". No such charges have been made for the last 20 years or so. At
first the police asked the Bower for around £12,000 to police this year’s
Bower; the figure has since dropped by around 75%. "I have asked the
Chief Constable to look into this matter personally and I hope he will agree
with me that the introduction of such charges could jeopardise the very
future of the Bower in years to come if charges are regularly introduced.
This cannot be allowed to happen." says Michael Fabricant. The Lichfield
Bower will be held on the 3rd June this year.