by Mary Graham
There will be no extra cash to help pay for the additional policing needed in Kent during the 2012 Olympic Games, it has been revealed.
Kent Police Authority had hoped for a share of government funding but has been told none of it has been allocated here as the county has no Olympic venues.
The decision means the taxpayer will foot the bill for policing the thousands of extra visitors to Ebbsfleet International station and motorists on north Kent’s roads, plus maintaining public order at training venues.
The KPA predicts that at peak times, 25,000 people an hour could use the High Speed services to reach the games in Stratford.
The county could see around a million extra visitors passing through, or staying in the county, during the games.
Ann Barnes, the authority’s chairman, said: “We will have several training camps and the county will be a main thoroughfare to London.
“As the gateway to Europe we will have to cope with an influx of visitors as well as policing Ebbsfleet station.
“I’m delighted the Olympics is coming to London, but it does mean we will have to utilise a massive police resource.
“The force will give 100 per cent but it is really disappointing there is no funding for us and taxpayers will have to foot the bill.”
Cllr Mike Snelling, leader of Gravesham council and a KPA member, said: “The cash follows official venues and events, but Ebbsfleet is a major point of entry to the games and the area is generally quite busy. Personally I am quite disappointed by this decision.”
Cllr Jeremy Kite, leader of Dartford council, said: “There will be a ring of steel around the Olympic Park and Stratford itself, yet Ebbsfleet is just down the line, so this is an issue.
“We don’t want to be alarmist about it, as we have been doing lots of work with police, but the fact remains that if you divide the country into quarters, Ebbsfleet is the key jumping off point in the South East quarter and there are also plans for Park and Ride services to the games.
“I don’t think it has been thought about as fully as we would like and we are now within the 500 day countdown.
“I fear Dartford will have a huge inconvenience as transport links grind to a halt.”
Kent Police pledged it would retain normal police services, as well as policing the games, adding managers would have to look carefully at officer request for leave during July and August 2012.