Papal visit to cost British police up to 1.5 million pounds

9th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

The security operation for Pope Benedict XVI's state visit to Britain will cost up to 1.5 million pounds, the police commander in charge said Thursday.

Chief Constable Meredydd Hughes said the policing cost of the visit was estimated at between one and 1.5 million pounds (1.5 and 2.3 million dollars, 1.2 and 1.8 million euros).

The British government is paying between 10 and 12 million pounds for the state elements of the visit, while the Catholic churches here are contributing up to 10 million pounds for the religious aspects, of which six million has already been raised.

Hughes said that besides the pope, police would also have to protect those wishing to see him, and protesters.

"There is no intelligence to suggest any specific group will attack the pope," he said.

The pontiff is visiting Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Birmingham on his September 16-19 trip.

Hughes, the chief of South Yorkshire Police in northern England, said no previous state visit had involved so many different sites around Britain.

Commander Bob Broadhurst of London's Metropolitan Police will be responsible for protecting Pope Benedict.

He warned people not to underestimate the "fervour" that the visit would bring.

"People get very passionate and very, very emotional," he said.

"We may at times be protecting the protesters from the faithful if one or two people get hot under the collar."

© 2010 AFP

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