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Cost of policing EDL protests in West Yorkshire, £3 million

Cost of policing EDL protests in West Yorkshire, £3 million

Categories: Latest News

Thursday November 28 2013

Regional paper, the Yorkshire Post, reports on the outcome of an FOI on the cost of policing English Defence League demonstrations in West Yorkshire. The local force has policed seven EDL protests in the county since October 2009 at a total cost of £3 million.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for the region, Mark Burns-Williamson, has called for increased powers to ban protests by right-wing groups after a further protest by the EDL in Bradford last month cost in excess of £1 million.

The local paper reports:

“A demonstration in Bradford in August 2010 which saw the EDL and Unite Against Fascism hold separate protests cost the force £995,000 and required 1,281 officers. West Yorkshire Police were supported by 13 other forces to help keep the groups apart. Thirteen protesters were arrested after several skirmishes broke out.

“In October 2009, some 900 EDL supporters joined a rally in City Square, Leeds, and were penned in by a ring of officers. A total of 672 officers were required policing cost £310,000.

“After last month’s protest in Bradford, which saw 700 EDL supporters visit the city and involved more than 1,000 officers from several forces, politicians called for greater powers to ban demonstrations by far-right groups. At present, static protests cannot be banned.”

MPs George Galloway and Gerry Sutcliffe were among those who called on Burns-Williamson to ban the EDL demonstration in Bradford in October.

The Daily Mirror reported earlier this month on the £2 million bill faced by Tower Hamlets for policing an EDL demonstration in the borough in September. The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, was joined by a host of local leaders and councillors in calling on the Home Secretary to invoke a ban on the march.

The cost and disruption of EDL demos across the country has been raised in local councils and in Parliament in the past. Hull Council tabled a motion to discuss banning the EDL form holding demonstrations in Hull on grounds of their “deliberately provocative nature…with participants engaging in crude and racist behaviour clearly intended to elicit a response from local residents in a typical display of fascist street thuggery.”

The MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, Jonathan Reynolds, raised the issue in Parliament in March asking “whether such protests – which [cause] inevitable disruption for shoppers and [prompt] a significant policing operation – are really appropriate.”


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