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£500k bill to police EDL march in South Yorkshire

Police at a previous EDL demonstration in South Yorkshire - at Sheffield Lane Top, last September.

Police at a previous EDL demonstration in South Yorkshire - at Sheffield Lane Top, last September.

 

One thousand police officers will be on duty this weekend at a cost of £500,000 for an EDL rally in South Yorkshire.

Officers have had leave cancelled by police chiefs concerned at the number of EDL supporters from across the country set to travel to Rotherham on Saturday.

Reinforcements have been drafted in from neighbouring forces to try to keep the peace, with counter protest groups also due.

Rotherham District Commander Chf Supt Jason Harwin said: “We are prepared.

“We will have about 1,000 officers on duty from South Yorkshire and surrounding forces who are supporting us.”

He said the cost of the policing operation is likely to be ‘substantial’ with estimates at around £500,000.

Chf Supt Harwin added: “We have dealt with similar events in Rotherham and Sheffield before and have brought together commanders with experience and the resources needed to make sure it is as safe as it can possibly be in Rotherham on Saturday.

“There is going to be some disruption but we are trying to minimise it and are working with businesses to try to keep Rotherham open.”

He said anyone with information about people intending to travel to Rotherham to cause trouble should come forward.

Calls have been made for the EDL to pay for the cost of policing the demonstration.

Last year, police spent more than £1.2m policing two EDL events in Sheffield.

MPs and civic leaders have told the EDL they are not welcome in Rotherham.

Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey said: “The EDL are not welcome or wanted here. Rotherham people do not want this huge disruption and cost and they don’t want their town used as a platform for the EDL’s vile views.”

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion said: “Rotherham is proud of its multicultural heritage and our diversity is something which should be celebrated, not driven out.

“The EDL march is not welcome here and, as a mark of respect to the will of the people of Rotherham, they should consider abandoning their planned demonstration.”

Andrew Denniff, chief executive of Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce, said: “On a Saturday afternoon this march is going to have a considerable effect on businesses.

“There are a number who have chosen not to open that day because they think that people will choose to stay away from town.”

Rotherham Coun Mahroof Hussain is calling for the EDL to compensate businesses hit by the rally.

He said: “The EDL should pay back the taxpayers and compensate local businesses for loss of trade.”

 

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