Torch relay cost truly vindicated
IS it possible to put a value on last year's triumphant tour of the Olympic Torch around Gloucestershire?
We report on page 16 today, that it cost the county's police force alone £30,000.
At first glance that is a significant amount of money. And, some might argue, it would have been better spent on fighting crime.
But they would be missing the point.
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Remember how different the build-up was to both the Olympic Torch relay and the Olympic Games themselves than the reality of what happened?
Security was in chaos with security firms failing to recruit the staff they had promised and a general feeling that chaos was about to reign.
There was also an underlying threat of terrorism. And this was said to be as much of a threat to the torch relay as it was to the games.
Gloucestershire police were aware of the potential risks and, quite rightly, had to spend time preparing in case the very worst happened.
Thankfully, both events passed off peacefully.
In Gloucestershire, if we judge the police spending against the sheer pleasure that was had by its residents over two days the torch came to the county, it was money well spent.
From the moment the torch entered the county in the south Cotswolds, to the fantastic scenes as Zara Phillips carried it on horseback at the racecourse, thousands turned out to celebrate.
The following day, the torch left Gloucester with equally excited crowds cheering it on its way.
If ever there were two days when extra police preparation – and spending – were entirely vindicated, they were those two days last May.
NEXT year's First World War centenary events will highlight many acts of bravery.
And the news that new commemorations are planned for the servicemen who were awarded the Victoria Cross is just the right sort of tribute.
Paving stones, specially designed to mark their bravery, will be laid in places including Cheltenham, Bourton-on-the-Water and Wood Stanway, from where the heroes originally hailed.
We must not forget and next year's events will help in that.