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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 January 2007, 05:22 GMT
Airports face security cost rise
Passengers' bags being checked
There has been much tighter security recently
Police forces are to try to recover the costs of extra security prompted by terror alerts from airport operators.

Nine police forces and police authorities responsible for patrolling the country's largest airports will meet airport bosses this week.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Authority said Heathrow owner BAA pays 38m a year for police patrols, 10m less than it costs Scotland Yard.

Eight other airports are legally obliged to pay towards policing.

Gatwick, Stansted, Birmingham, Manchester, Prestwick, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen are also covered by the 1982 Civil Aviation Act.

MPA chairman Len Duvall said: "It is unfair to expect taxpayers to have to bear the costs for policing what are commercial enterprises, often earning huge profits.

Funding issue

"Police forces spend a substantial amount of their resources on keeping our major airports safe - a position made more vital due to the increased threat from terrorism.

"We need to work out an equitable agreement that enables us to maintain cover at our airports, keep all airport users safe and ensure we do not have an excessive drain on our budgets to the detriment of our wider police services."

A spokesman for BAA - which runs six of the nine airports which pay for policing - said the funding issue was already being reviewed by the government.

"We look forward to working with the MPA on this and await the findings of the current report into the financing of designated airports," he added.

The meeting will be at Heathrow on Tuesday.


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