A new freedom of information request reveal Police Scotland incurred costs of £8,000 when Donald Trump cancelled a visit to the Menie Estate. Aberdeen Voice’s Suzanne Kelly is seeking clarification of information police supplied, which she feels is self-contradictory.
Police are often shown in pictures of Trump arriving, travelling or staying at his estate.
The police also intervened in a land boundary dispute at the Forbes Farm, normally a civil matter.
Is Trump getting policing above and beyond what any other visitor would get? If so, what is the cost of this police protection?
On the one hand, the police have this to say about how they treat Trump, his family, and staff:-
“No extra police protection is provided to Mr Trump, his family or staff etc beyond that which would normally be afforded to any other member of the public.”
– letter from Mrs Jody McKenzie, Compliance Manager, Information Management Unit, Grampian Police to Suzanne Kelly, 2 July 13.
However, the same letter which makes this claim continues to say:-
“On one occasion, when Mr Trump had to cancel a planned trip to the area at short notice, an exercise was carried out to estimate what the cost to the force was. An estimate of the officer and staff time was £5200.”
This figure was later revised upwards:-
– email from Mrs Jody McKenzie to Suzanne Kelly of 11 July 13.
To explain their position, Mrs McKenzie wrote:-
“Although costs were calculated in regard to the cancelled trip, this was done at the time of the cancellation and involved a member of staff speaking to individual officers to find out what their shift changes were and what overtime or re-rostered rest days they were entitled to, in order to come up with an estimated figure.
“We also had to ask those involved in planning how long they spent on these tasks – such detail would not be routinely recorded and was provided based on the officer/member of staff’s recollection. Clearly this was easily done due to the fact that task was recent. If we were to approach officers and staff now to recall how long they spent on a piece of work 2 or three years ago, it is unlikely they would accurately recall.
“Furthermore, this would amount to the creation of new information and there is no obligation on authorities to create new information to answer a FOI request. Only recorded information held by an authority should be provided in response to a FOI request.”
I have asked for the police to conduct an internal investigation into how my request was handled. I believe payroll records and other captured data could easily be matched to Trump visit dates (or to cancelled Trump visit dates) and the information requested could then be supplied.
Updates will be made to this story when further information is available.
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