Olympic funding must support extra security costs to Scottish airport


By a Newsnet reporter

An SNP MSP is demanding to know how additional costs for policing and security at Glasgow Prestwick Airport will be met when this year’s London Olympics officially opens.

Glasgow Prestwick is presently designated as the sole UK airport to which flights regarded as possible terrorist threats are to be diverted during the games.

In December it emerged that Strathclyde police were preparing to deploy a round-the-clock presence at the Ayrshire airport in anticipation of dangerous flights being detected by UK intelligence.

Planes thought to contain bombs or believed to be under threat from hijackers will land at Prestwick instead of London’s Stansted.  The cost of footing the police bill will fall on Scottish taxpayers.

Chic Brodie, SNP MSP for South Scotland, has said that while Scotland’s police forces are willing and capable to meet the demands that will help make security watertight at Prestwick Airport, financial assurances from Westminster must be forthcoming.

He said:

“I am fully supportive of the Olympic Games being held in London, however, there are some pertinent issues regarding the cost of policing and additional security in Scotland which must be addressed by the UK Government.

“Round the clock security will be required at Prestwick Airport for at least that period and preparing to pull police from all parts of Scotland at a moment’s notice to Prestwick for a possible incident will have costs.

“Can the UK Government confirm that funding will come from the Olympic Pot – which recently managed to provide an incremental £49 million for the opening ceremony – thus preventing any additional burden on the council tax payers of Strathclyde.

“There will be potential disruption to the airport’s commercial operation and additional compensation must also be taken into consideration.”

It emerged last year that an extra £41m is to be spent on the London Olympics opening ceremony in order to bolster security.  It includes an estimated 800 Scottish police officers who will be drafted in to help their southern counterparts.

The extra cost to Scottish taxpayers has been criticised.  There is already a £1.2 million burden on Glasgow for having to host some of the game’s football matches at Hampden.  It comes at a time when Scottish forces are facing cuts of around £4 million.