Cop Costs Anger Promoters

Many of the U.K.’s major music promoters are reportedly angry because the police want more money in exchange for working their events.

At present, the constabularies are able to charge for all the manpower needed inside venues and festival sites, but the Association Of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) wants to extend the charge to cover the extra officers needed to police the streets around them.

It’s no surprise that ACPO should seek a change in the law, particularly as Mean Fiddler Music Group launched a successful legal appeal against a £300,000 police bill for the Leeds leg of the 2003 Carling Weekend.

The promoter argued that the festival was not liable for the officers needed outside the site, and the Appeal Court agreed on the grounds that the constabularies have a statutory duty to police the streets.

With an Appeal Court ruling to back them up, promoters are likely to win the day on that issue – unless the police can influence a change in the law.

In a submission to the Home Office, which is preparing an outline government policy document (Green Paper) on police reform, ACPO has recommended that police authorities be given “increased powers to charge major event organisers.”

It’s difficult to gauge how seriously the promoters and venues are taking this move, particularly as ACPO made the submission as far back as March and there’s hardly been a howl of protest.

It’s still early though, as a Green Paper is only a tentative government report without any commitment to action. ACPO produces guidance, but doesn’t have any authorisation over regional police forces.

Promoters and venues are likely to become more vocal if the ACPO proposal shows up in a government White Paper, which is a stage higher than a Green Paper and is a statement of government policy.