'Cash strapped' force picks up bill for 120 Boat Race police
- Credit: Terry Harris
Residents of Cambridgeshire will pick up the bill for the 120 police officers on duty for the 2021 Gemini Boat Race staged in Ely.
The decision has been criticised by – among others – police and crime commissioner candidate Rupert Moss-Eccardt.
“Much as it was nice to see Ely and the surrounding area showcased, I am disappointed that this has cost our cash strapped force significant sums,” he said.
A Cambridgeshire police spokesperson confirmed that the force provided their services free of charge.
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“We have received no payment,” said the spokesperson. “The Boat Race is a national event organised by a not-for-profit organisation.”
It was “unlike other sporting events such as football where people pay to go and watch”.
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The spokesperson said they understood the number of officers deployed was 120 “due to the scale of the area that needed to be covered, approximately 10km”.
But Mr Moss-Eccardt said: “I am surprised to find this described as a not-for-profit event as there was clearly corporate sponsorship”.
Mr Moss-Eccardt, Lib Dem candidate for police and crime commissioner in the May elections, said: “We have recently had to cut our much-loved PCSOs due to a budget shortfall.
“To spend even more money, albeit for a national event, is disappointing.”
The Boat Race Company Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Oxford and Cambridge Rowing Foundation, a UK based charity.
Its most recent accounts- to end of March 2019 – and lodged with Companies House in 2020, says the directors “have elected not to include a copy of the profit account within the financial statements.
“These financial statements have been prepared and delivered in accordance with the provisions applicable to the small companies' regime”.
The company says the cancellation of the 2020 Boat Race because of the threat posed by the spread of Covid-19 would be reflected in the 2020 financial statements.
During 2019, however, it says the company paid £125,000 to each of the Cambridge University Boat, the Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club, the Oxford University Boat Club and the Oxford University Women’s Boat Club.
“The boat clubs are stakeholders in the ultimate parent undertaking, the Oxford and Cambridge Rowing Foundation,” it says.
The Boat Race was sponsored this year by cryptocurrency exchange brand Gemini who also included a £75,000 bursary scheme to help young engage young people in the sport who have limited access to rowing.
Experts say the Boat Race costs around £3m to stage and although the BBC pays around £500,000 for showing it, sponsors pick up the remaining £2.5m.
Tell us what you think of the decision by Cambridgeshire Police.