Poli ce chiefs have spent £1.5m covering demos in South Yorkshire over last year

An EDL march in Rotherham
An EDL march in Rotherham
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Marches and demonstrations in South Yorkshire have cost £1.5 million to police so far this year.

Chief Constable David Crompton revealed the figure in the week that members of the English Defence League held another demonstration in Rotherham - the latest in a series of gatherings over recent weeks since the publication of a damning report into child sexual exploitation in the town.

Professor Alexis Jay published a report which suggested that 1,400 children had been sexually abused over a 16 year period while the authorities turned a blind eye.

South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Council are said to have failed to have tackled child sex abuse because of sensitivities around the ethnicity of offenders - mainly Pakistani heritage men.

The findings caused an outcry and have resulted in regular marches in Rotherham by groups demanding action and resignations.

The English Defence League and Britain First have both held demos, prompting Unite Against Fascism to stage counter protests.

Rotherham business owners are angry at the impact the gatherings are having on trade, with the larger ones resulting in police officers having to close roads

Chief Constable Crompton said: “We have spent £1.5 million policing marches and demonstrations so far this financial year and are in the process of putting in a bid to the Home Office to see if we can get that money back.

“Policing these events is something we have to cope with but when it comes down to it that money could have been used on something else - that £1.65 million was money that is now not available for community policing, investigating child sexual exploitation or murder investigations.”