Two senior Essex police officers will travel to the Beijing Olympics at the taxpayers' expense.

Essex Police Authority agreed to send Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lowton and Supt Simon Williams to China at a cost of thousands of pounds.

The authority said it was sending the officers ahead of the London 2012 Olympics so they can "learn a great deal about staging a major event".

Essex Police Authority chairman Robert Chambers said: "I would be the first to say if I thought it was a waste of money - I don't like wasting taxpayers' money.

"The police are vital to the running of any international competition and I think it is right and proper someone should assess the problems and issues that could arise.

"This could save us money in the long run."

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