Policing poser

PARTY conferences remain an important part of the democratic process, and a forum that can hold the leadership to account by grassroots members. They have always incurred significant security costs, even more so since the IRA so nearly killed Margaret Thatcher in 1984. Next month’s Lib Dem spring conference in Sheffield should be an opportunity to highlight – to both visting delegates and a significant TV audience – the city’s renaissance.

Yet, with “local boy” Nick Clegg’s popularity at an all-time low, and with South Yorkshire Police preparing to delve into emergency cash reserves to fund the additional security that will be required to control protesting students and such like, it may prove to be a very uncomfortable weekend for the Sheffield Hallam MP.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

This is, however, not a proper use of police reserves. They are there to fund the police response to a major emergency – and this misuse gives further credence to the view that security costs for major political gatherings should. in future, come out of Home Office funds rather than the coffers of cash-strapped local forces.