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Marches 'straining' police budget

28 September 09 11:23 GMT

The resources of Scotland's largest police force are being stretched by the growing number of marches and parades, according to new reports.

Studies for Strathclyde Police's management body say more than 1,000 events last financial year took nearly 50,000 police hours at a cost of £1.7m.

More than a third of this was spent on the main Orange parade in Glasgow.

The reports said a "disproportionate number of officers" were being deployed with "no means of cost recovery".

Two reports on marches and parades - one covering police resources and another on violence and disorder - will go before Strathclyde Police Authority on Thursday.

The paper on resources shows that from 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009 there were 1,061 marches and parades in the Strathclyde force area.

These required a total of 49,859 police hours at a cost of £1,714,374.

'Finite resources'

More than a third of this cost - £596,398 - was incurred by policing the main Orange parade through Glasgow on 5 July 2008.

The report also states that between April and August 2009 there were 610 marches and parades in the force area.

These required a total of 26,175 police hours at a total cost of £853,467.

The report "highlights the increasing demand placed on finite resources in terms of resource deployment, cost recovery and community engagement".

It concludes that "as the number of events continues to rise, Strathclyde Police is required to deploy a disproportionate number of officers on a regular basis with no means of cost recovery".

A separate report on violence, disorder and antisocial behaviour focuses on Orange parades in Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Ayrshire in the first two weeks of July this year.

It notes an increased number of common, serious and racially motivated assaults, including assaults on police officers as well as rises in weapons possessions, vandalism, breach of the peace and street drinking.

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