The motorcade that escorted Britney Spears to hospital in the early hours of Thursday morning (31Jan08) cost Los Angeles police an estimated $25,000 (GBP12,500). Officials tell the Los Angeles Times newspaper the Crisis Response Support Section of the LAPD started planning the trip from Spears' Coldwater Canyon home to UCLA Medical Center on Monday (28Jan08) after authorities received worried calls from the singer's family. Police sources insist the effort was not specialised because of the celebrity nature of the subject, and that such operations are commonplace in Los Angeles. The job of the motorcade, which included more than 20 police officers, a helicopter and a team of intervention specialists, was to block off traffic ahead and behind the ambulance carrying Spears to hospital, and to keep the paparazzi at bay. Lieutenant Rick Wall tells the newspaper, "Most (operations) go exactly as the one (on Thursday morning), without the 200 paparazzi. "We get calls from family members daily who are worried about their loved ones being a danger to themselves or others." City officials have defended the cost of the Spears motorcade operation, stating a heavy police presence was deemed necessary to control the aggressive paparazzi and prevent traffic accidents on the way to the hospital. Spears is expected to spend the weekend in the medical centre on a 72-hour psychiatric hold.