Lib Dems In Brighton

The estimated policing costs for the Liberal Democrats' autumn party conference will be £2.1 million, it has been disclosed.

Around 8,000 delegates will flock to Brighton for the event which starts in the seaside city on Saturday.

Fencing has been erected around the conference's venue, the Brighton Centre on the seafront, but the scale of the security operation is smaller than previous years.

The cost of the Labour Party conference in Brighton in 2009 amounted to around £6 million, substantially less than the £2.1 million cost predicted for the Lib Dems' event.

Grand Hotel ahead of Lib Dem conferenceInspector Niall Griffin, the deputy planning co-ordinator for Sussex Police (interview at bottom of page) said the "island site'' for the Lib Dems' conference  only includes the Brighton Centre and the Grand Hotel, but not the Metropole or Russell Road Car Park, although any vehicles heading there will be searched.

He said: "There will be overt patrolling by police officers around the island site and a minimum of officers within the island site.''

He added: "We have taken police officers over and above the normal policing requirements and we have also brought in officers from other forces to enhance our numbers.''

Inspector Griffin said police were expecting a "safe and peaceful'' protest on Saturday by campaigners from groups including Brighton Stop the Cuts and the local Trades Council.

Adam Bates, head of tourism and leisure for Brighton and Hove City Council (interview below), said the conference should boost the local economy by an estimated £15 million.

He said: "It has been a tough summer. The early poor weather didn't help and the general economy is making it very difficult for many businesses.

"That said, we are a city with a lot going on and better than most. It's great to have (the Lib Dems) back. There is a lot of competition as we have relatively new venues in Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow.''

Mr Bates added that hosting such a conference would help showcase Brighton to other event organisers with the hope of attracting further large-scale events.

Insp Niall Griffin on Lib Dem conference

Adam Bates on Lib Dem Conference