Search Donate

Show results for
  • News
  • Videos
  • Action Alerts
  • Events
  • Resources
  • MEND

South Yorkshire chief constable calls for change in the law on EDL protests

South Yorkshire chief constable calls for change in the law on EDL protests

Categories: Latest News

Friday May 23 2014

The Star and West Sussex County Times cover the remarks of South Yorkshire Chief Constable, David Crompton, who in an interview with the Yorkshire Post expressed concerns at the cost to the taxpayer of far right protests and the opportunity cost to police forces of policing static demonstrations at a time of budget cuts.

Crompton told the YP that it was time the Government revised the Public Order Act in order to subject static demonstrations to tighter restrictions freeing up resources for police forces to deploy elsewhere.

Crompton is quoted in the paper as saying:

“I do think that is a touchy subject, because we are getting very close to what is people’s freedom of speech. But by the same token there has to be a sense of proportion about this.

“These events cost us about half a million pounds every time and that is half a million pounds we would rather be spending on something else.

“Either somebody changes the law so that it’s less easy to do this or alternatively there are some funds available that we can tap into. As it stands, we have a lot of power over marches but we don’t have in any way the same control over assemblies. I do think that perhaps the time has come to look at some of that legislation.”

Rotherham has seen three English Defence League demonstrations in the town in the last 18 months with the most recent one requiring 1,000 police officers, some drawn from neighbouring forces. Cost of policing the demonstrations, according to Crompton, have totalled £500,000 each time and diverting £1.5million from the force’s budget.

A freedom of information request submitted by the Yorkshire Post last year found that West Yorkshire has spent £3million on policing EDL demonstrations since October 2009. Tower Hamlets council disclosed that an EDL protest in the borough last summer had cost the local force £2million after 3,000 police officers had to be drafted in.  And it is not the first time that questions have been raised about rethinking legislation on static protests and the huge diversion of police budgets to man static protests. Jonathan Reynolds MP raised the question of “whether such protests – which caused inevitable disruption for shoppers and prompting a significant policing operation – are really appropriate” after the EDL targeted his constituency of Stalybridge and Hyde in 2012.

The Yorkshire Post in an editorial throws its weight behind Crompton’s proposal of a legislative rethink stating:

“There is nothing undemocratic or illiberal about banning gatherings likely to provoke violence and which have little popular support in any case. And if the EDL disagrees with this, then let it participate in democracy by actually standing in elections and showing the nation exactly how much popularity it has.”


Find out more about MEND, sign up to our email newsletter

Get all the latest news from MEND straight to your inbox. Sign up to our email newsletter for regular updates and events information