EDL demo cost Calderdale £140,000

9th July 2011. English Defence League demonstration in Halifax. Riot police contain EDL members after they broke free into the grounds of Eureka.
9th July 2011. English Defence League demonstration in Halifax. Riot police contain EDL members after they broke free into the grounds of Eureka.

THE English Defence League protest in Halifax cost taxpayers more than £140,000.

And that’s £1 for every adult in Calderdale.

Six people were arrested during the event on July 9 and a police office suffered a dislocated shoulder.

The direct costs to Calderdale Council amounted to £60,000.

And the council has estimated the bill so far for the West Yorkshire Police at £82,000, councillors were told.

The council bill covers staff time, overtime, officers meetings and a host of other costs.

On top of this figure, traders and publicans lost thousands of pounds on the day as the town centre was disrupted.

The extra expenditure has prompted councillors to write to the Home Office to inform ministers of the implications.

There was unanimous condemnation of the EDL at Calderdale Council’s monthly meeting.

But Liberal Democrat leader Janet Battye (Calder) stopped short of calling for a ban on such protests.

“Such a move needs more debate and discussion, she said.

Deputy leader Tim Swift (Lab, Town) said that among other things, the council spent £10,000 on the day of the protest on “diversionary activities” for young people who might otherwise have been drawn to the protest.

He said the decision of some publicans to close that day had been helpful and it was unfortunate that the Eureka Children’s Museum also had to close so that the protestors could be coralled in the station car park.

“The protest was unwarranted and unwanted and the people of Calderdale are to be congratulated for refusing to be provoked by the presence of the EDL,” said Coun Swift.

Councillor Robert Thornber (Con, Ryburn) said the organisers should be made topay for the police and council operations on the day, in the say way that some charities had to do for large scale events.

The council’s police spokesman David Kirton (Con, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe) said there were no powers to charge for supervising events where there was no commercial gain.

“It doesn’t seem fair when local organisations sometimes have to pay half of the costs involved and it is something I will be raising at the next police authority meeting,” he said.

West Yorkshire Police had to draft in officers from North Yorkshire, Humberside and South Yorkshire on July 9 and sealed off parts of Sowerby Bridge and King Cross as well as Halifax town centre.

Community leaders and groups who released a statement on the day of the demonstration condemning the EDL’s decision to come to Halifax.

It said: “We are a place where people live side by side, with common values based upon mutual respect, tolerance and unity.

“The actions of the EDL in choosing to demonstrate in Halifax today show that they care nothing for the well-being of anyone who lives, works in or cares about Halifax.

“They are not welcome in our town. It is time that they got this message from us.”