Met police forced to shoulder riot costs

Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

The Met police are being forced to fill a £123m 'black hole' in riot costs after Whitehall failed on its pledge to foot the entire bill for the policing during last summer's riots.

The costs come as the Met faces £85.5m deficit due to government spending cuts, while half of the riot victims compensation claims remain unresolved.
Labour say that Met police estimate their liabilities under the Riot Damages Act in the capital to be £198m, not including a further £78m for their operational policing costs to bring the riots under control.

However the Home Office has so far indicated that its final settlement for the Met will be only £100m, covering just half the bill.
In contrast, West Midlands, Greater Manchester and Merseyside police have all had 100 percent of their compensation liabilities under the Riot Damages Act reimbursed by the Home Office, and 85 percent of their operational policing costs.
Six months after the violence many riot who lost their homes and businesses are still waiting for compensation to be agreed, while those who have been offered payouts say they are frequently only about half the amount originally claimed. Charitable donations they have received are also being deducted from the final award.

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, wrote to the home secretary, Theresa May, last week, asking for a rapid resolution of the matter.

Revealing there were at least 2,000 outstanding riot claims – about half the total made – that had not yet been dealt with, Johnson also demanded a halt to the "totally unnecessary and unhelpful deduction" of charitable grants from riot compensation awards.
The Home Office told the Guardian it would eventually meet the Met's riot bill on the same basis: "The Met is yet to provide figures for its costs during the riots – either from Riot Damages Act liabilities or from operations mounted during the disturbances. As is the case with all forces affected by the riots, the Met will receive 100% of its RDA liabilities and 85% of operational costs."
But the shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, said the Met's figures showed the prime minister was breaking his promises to the victims of the riots and to the police.
Speaking to the Guardian she said; "As the media attention has moved on, so it seems has David Cameron's commitment to those communities. And the Met is being left with a very worrying budget gap in the run up to the Olympics as a result."
"David Cameron promised that the Treasury would provide the money to pay the compensation for riot damages. But many victims are yet to receive a penny, the government hasn't provided all the money and the police are being left to pick up the bill.
Read Full Story