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VIP protection costs £310,000 a day

Britain's largest police force is spending at least £310,000 every 24 hours protecting Royals, VIPs and diplomats, it can be revealed.

Scotland Yard racked up a £113,598,687 bill for armed bodyguards who shadow high-profile individuals and patrol at-risk properties in 2009-10.

The figure was less than the £127,784,028 spent in 2008-9, but similar to the £116,515,695 laid out in 2007-8.

It can be made public for the first time after it was included in internal budget papers filed by accountants at the end of the financial year. But it is not clear if the money is only the annual grant handed over by the Government, which could mean the true cost of protection is even higher.

Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson has complained to successive home secretaries that the Whitehall funding is not enough to adequately protect those at risk. As a result London residents are contributing to international protection duties through their council tax.

Sir Paul has indicated that the protection bill must be slimmed down and suggested he is impatient for an ongoing review to be completed. But police have already begun preparing for the expensive and complex task of protecting hundreds of VIPs during the 2012 Olympic Games.

One source said the new figures include the cost of patrolling embassies, royal residences and other sensitive buildings.

He said: "It shows the scale of the task the Metropolitan Police undertakes on behalf of the Government."

But Green Party politician Jenny Jones, a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), said it is impossible to justify the cost.

She said: "Even in times of plenty these figures would be shocking, but in the tough times we have now, it's indefensible to spend so much money on protection for famous people and frequently empty houses. The Government has to act quickly to cut the number of people protected to show they care more about policing for ordinary people, not just the privileged."


From Belfast Telegraph