THE full cost of a July demo by the far-right English Defence League in Halifax can be revealed today.
The protest cost police a massive £276,000 – three times the figure Calderdale Council initially put on police cover. Added to that is the cost to the council – £60,000.
And the figures do not take into account the losses suffered when businesses and the children’s museum Eureka were forced to close for the day.
Halifax MP Halifax Linda Riordan said the huge costs confirmed her belief that the EDL should be banned from the area.
She said: “The police did a fantastic job in ensuring our streets were kept safe and the EDL were kept at arm’s length.
“But the costs are astronomically high, especially at a time of cuts to frontline services. But we cannot put a price on public safety.
“However, this reaffirms my belief that future EDL marches should be banned from our town.
“The EDL bring nothing but intolerance, hate, and division. They undermine democracy rather than embrace it.
“Why should hard-working police officers have to divert their attention away from tackling crime, to tackling yobs, who have no – absolutely no – place in Halifax?”
The new police figure was released to the Courier under the Freedom of Information Act.
Another protest by the group on April 16 cost police £36,000.
As reported by the Courier, the protest on July 9 saw glass bottles hurled at police and EDL supporters crowding up against officers, shouting “Let’s go mental”. Six people were arrested.
According the Freedom of Information response, West Yorkshire Police had to pay an estimated extra £73,000 to have officers, including some from North Yorkshire and Humberside, in Halifax on the day of the demonstration.
There was also an extra £31,000 paid in overtime.
A spokesman for the force said the balance of £172,0000 was not an additional bill to the taxpayer as it represented money that would have been spent that day on officers policing the county.
But the standard duties of many officers working that day had to be changed to meet the policing demands of the demo.
For the April 16 protest, £24,000 was part of the existing budget and £12,000 was additional overtime.
Meanwhile Calderdale councillors who wrote to the Home Office to raise the issue of the cost of the EDL’s protests to taxpayers have had a response.
In a letter, councillors were told that Home Secretary Teresa May described the EDL as a group “whose purpose is to divide and encourage hatred in our society” and she condemned them for that.
The letters said the Government was working with a range of partners to address the drivers of EDL activity, promote integrated communities and minimise the harm caused by EDL activity through a “targeted and robust criminal-justice response”.