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Last Updated: Monday, 14 February, 2005, 18:00 GMT
Police await conference cash aid
Police near the Sage Gateshead
More than 1,000 police officers were on duty at any one time
Police on Tyneside have asked the Home Office to help fund the huge cost of providing security for Labour's spring conference in Gateshead.

Northumbria Police believe it cost 2.8m to create the so-called "ring of steel" around the Sage Gateshead during the three-day conference.

Roads and bridges were closed for the event, which ended on Sunday.

The force wants the government to foot part of the bill for security measures, which included 1,600 on duty officers.

A spokesman for Northumbria Police said they expected to hear a decision from the Home Office in March.

Officers praised

He said: "The overall cost of the policing operation is expected to be 2.8m.

"We have submitted a bid for funding to the Home Office Police Resources Unit, but we do not as yet know what financial support they will provide."

The force says around 700,000 spent on specific items, will bring continued benefits to the area.

The cash paid for additional CCTV systems, with a link to the force's HQ control centre, to cover the rapidly developing areas of Gateshead.

Money was also used to upgrade vehicles, equipment and radio communications.

The spokesman added: "The skills acquired in preparation for the conference will enhance our ability to respond to any future major incident within the Northumbria Police area.

"The Prime Minister Tony Blair and ministers praised the policing of the conference."

Business and tourism leaders hope the success of the conference will bring millions of pounds in the region in coming years.

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