Page last updated at 13:15 GMT, Thursday, 4 June 2009 14:15 UK

Fair policing charge challenged

New policing charges could jeopardise the future of free community events in Cambridge, organisers of an annual arts festival in the city have said.

The Strawberry Fair will be charged £1,500 towards the £80,000 total cost to police the one-day event.

The fair's voluntary organisers have refused to pay until they have had "discussions with anyone involved in the decision-making process".

The free event has been running for 37 years and attracts up to 20,000 people.

Cambridgeshire Police said they would now start charging to police most events.

Some organisers will have to pay up to 30% for the policing required, some would need to make a token payment and others nothing.

"We have to spend your money to ensure public safety but that should not mean you having to foot the entire bill for others to have fun."
Chief Constable, Julie Spence

A force spokesman said organisers would be obliged to pay if extra officers were needed to be on shift with the money used to cover overtime costs.

Volunteer Martin Twiss, in charge of production at the annual Strawberry Fair, said: "The charges will go up year on year and the future of community events in the region as a whole will be placed in jeopardy.

"A decision like this needs to go through a democratic process."

The police confirmed the new system would start with police charging token amounts and over a few years rise to the real cost of covering the event.

In a podcast Chief Constable Julie Spence said: "We are not killjoys.

"We have to spend your money to ensure public safety but that should not mean you having to foot the entire bill for others to have fun."



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03 Jun 09 |  Cambridgeshire

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