Charity offers to pay Barack Obama policing costs

A charitable foundation has offered to reimburse the cost of policing surrounding Barack Obama's recent trip to Scotland.

Thursday, 22nd June 2017, 7:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:47 am
Barack Obama playing golf at St Andrews

The former US president played 18 holes at St Andrews before hosting a charity dinner in Edinburgh on May 26.

Information obtained by the Press Association reveals Police Scotland spent £13,410.60 on operational costs for the visit, which The Hunter Foundation said it would be happy to pay.

Mr Obama’s charity dinner, organised by the foundation, raised hundreds of thousands for good causes in Scotland.

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Ewan Hunter, chief executive of The Hunter Foundation, said “The dinner with Barack Obama raised £670,000 for Scottish children’s charities, this is an incredible amount of money that will make a huge impact on the lives of children across our country.

“We are very proud to have been able to secure Barack Obama’s trip to Scotland, one of his first speaking engagements outside the US, particularly against a backdrop of a very challenging climate caused by awful terror incidents just prior to our event.

“Security was paramount and we’d like to thank Police Scotland for their support during President Obama’s visit to Scotland.

“We are confident that the funds raised will provide a huge return to the people of Scotland and our young people in particular.

“The cost of around £13,500 for policing was a bargain for VisitScotland, however given it was a public cost The Hunter Foundation is happy to reimburse the public purse.”

Mr Obama gave a speech in front of around 1200 people including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, author JK Rowling and musician Annie Lennox.

Tickets for tables of 10 went on sale from about £5000 and quickly sold out.

Those to benefit include Unicef, Maggie’s Centres, the Beatson Clinic, Clic Sargent and Chas.

But the Democrat could not resist a game at the home of golf in Fife before giving his speech on his first visit to Scotland.

Amid heavy security, he shook hands with spectators as he made his way around the course.

Police had a large presence at the scene, with officers keeping hundreds of spectators at a distance and providing a convoy as he travelled between various destinations.

Police operational costs included overtime pay, vehicle hire as well as refreshments for officers and other staff involved with the event.