Police agree to reveal cost of manhunt

POLICE chiefs have finally agreed to reveal the cost of the manhunt for killer Raoul Moat.

Hundreds of officers from across the UK were drafted in to track down the 37-year-old bodybuilder and former nightclub doorman.

It has been estimated that the bill to council taxpayers in Northumberland will run into millions of pounds, after Northumbria Police had to pay other forces and agencies for overtime, travel and subsistence expenses for staff.

County councillor Steven Bridgett, who represents Rothbury, used the Freedom of Information Act to make an application to find out the cost of the investigation, which was called Operation Bulwark.

Northumbria Police is facing the threat of £34million in cuts and 450 job losses and Coun Bridgett wanted to know how much the Home Office would pay towards the Moat investigation.

But the force refused to release the figures until the outcome of an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Now, after lodging a complaint with the force, Coun Bridgett says he received a phone call from Deputy Chief Constable Jim Campbell telling him he will have the figures in a few days.

Coun Bridgett said: “I’m pleased that they have finally agreed to release the cost.

“The public has a right to know. We are paying for this at the end of the day.

“I don’t know why they have changed their mind but it’s good that they have.

“I didn’t do this to embarrass them. The reason I wanted the figures was to make sure the Home Office agreed to contribute a certain amount to the huge costs.

“To even attempt to use the IPCC investigation as a reason for refusal of an FOI request that is based around costs, is amateurish. The IPCC are not investigating anything remotely related to the costs.”

A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “The initial exemption to the Freedom of Information request was correctly applied as matters concerning the Moat incident are still ongoing and not all of the information that was requested is yet available or in a format which will be understood.

“However, following discussions with Mr Bridgett, we are in a position to supply specific information regarding particular aspects of the incident that have concluded which should meet his needs.”