§ Mr. Freeson
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his reply to the right hon. Member for Brent, East on 1 December, what estimate is made by the Metropolitan Police of the cost of allowing a march to take place; and if this is taken into consideration in any decision to ban the march.
§ Mr. Brittan
The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis is as conscious of the need to make the most economic use of his resources in maintaining public order as in any other of his responsibilities. But, under the Public Order Act 1936, he may seek my right hon. Friend's consent to a banning order only if he beleives that serious public disorder cannot otherwise be avoided. The question whether the cost should be taken into account is one of those matters under consideration in the Government's current review of the Public Order Act 1936 and related legislation.
§ Mr. Wheeler
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what were the extra costs to the taxpayer and ratepayer for the services of the police within the Metropolitan Police district for public order duties arising from demonstrations and marching on the public highway for 1979 and 1980.
§ Mr. Brittan
An estimate for 1980 is not yet available, but the estimated cost of policing those demonstrations, marches and meetings which required the presence of 100 or more police officers in 1979 was £5.75 million. It is not possible to say what proportion of this was attributable to overtime which would not otherwise have been necessary.