Badger cull operation cost West Mercia Police £466,000

West Mercia Police spent more than £450,000 helping to police the badger cull in Gloucestershire, it was revealed today.

Badger

Barrie Sheldon, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia, said the force's element of a joint operation with Gloucestershire Police cost £466,961.

It comes after Gloucestershire police and crime commissioner Martin Surl said on Twitter that policing costs for the full length of the Gloucestershire cull was £1.7 million.

Meanwhile, a similar pilot cull in Somerset cost Avon and Somerset Police £738,985.

All the money for the operations is due to be paid for by the Government.

Mr Sheldon said: "“Following the release by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire of the costs of policing the pilot badger cull to Gloucestershire Constabulary, I would like to release the cost to West Mercia Police so the public have an accurate figure for the total cost of the operation.

"West Mercia policed the cull as a joint operation with Gloucestershire Constabulary because small parts of the northern cull zone were in Herefordshire and Worcestershire where the cull boundary crosses the county borders.

"In supporting Gloucestershire Constabulary, our part of the operation cost £466,961.

"As the Government has promised to pay for these costs, there will be no cost to local council tax payers. The operation also had no effect on local policing."

The Government and farmers believe culling is necessary to control tuberculosis in cattle, which can catch the disease from badgers, but opponents say it will not be an effective solution and is inhumane.

Neither pilot managed to kill the 70 per cent of the badger population thought to be needed to make the cull effective in reducing TB in cattle herds in the area, despite a five-week and three-day extension in Gloucestershire and a three-week extension in Somerset.

In Somerset 65 per cent of the badger population was killed and in Gloucestershire the figure was 40%.

A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: "The costs of the badger cull pilots will be vastly outweighed by the impact that bovine TB is having on our farming industry and taxpayers.

"Each bovine TB cattle outbreak costs an average £34,000, and if left unchecked this disease will cost the taxpayer £1 billion over the next 10 years."

The original impact assessment by Defra for the pilot culls, which relied on Acpo's estimates of policing costs, found that overall costs were likely to outweigh the benefits of culling in an area by almost £900,000."

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Comments for: "Badger cull operation cost West Mercia Police £466,000"

Clued-Up

A cut in the budget of West Mercia Police by £467,000 worth of man hours and other expenses would normally damage community policing, especially at a time when there have been other government cuts in police budgets. What evidence does the Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner have that West Mercia Police's enforced contribution to the badger cull HASN'T damaged community policing?

I'd expect the removal of so many officers and equipment to produce delays in dealing with the kind of low-level crime that so much upsets communities (eg vandalism, damage to cars, attempted break-ins and the like). Such delays may result in more victims.

Port Hill Boy

Every police hour spent on this - the slaughter of badgers - is diverted from combating crimes such as burglary, robbery, violence etc. The police cant be in two places at once.