Cost of protest ‘could reach £1m’

The cost of controlling rival political protests in Nottingham at the weekend could pass £1m, officials have said.

About 700 officers drawn from a number of forces were used to take care of demonstrations by the English Defence League (EDL) and Unite Against Fascism.

Sixteen people were arrested during Saturday’s protests and officers said more arrests could follow.

The police authority said the cost could affect some short-term spending plans without extra funding help.

There was also a military parade in the city and a derby football match between Nottingham Forest and Leicester City.

‘Intimidating atmosphere’

Councillor John Clarke, the Chair of Nottinghamshire’s Police Authority, said the full cost of policing the events was only slowly becoming clear.

“I was told officially we were up at £750,000-plus for the Ratcliffe-upon-Trent power station protests and with this one there were significantly more officers, and you have to remember the backroom staff and everything else, so it will be a fair old bit,” he said.

He added the costs of combined operations through the year could pass £2m, which would allow them to ask the Home Office for extra funding, otherwise other budgets might suffer.

“It is a bit like having your roof blown off in a way. You have to deal with it and then put something else off to pay for it.

“This is a similar case, something else will get put off. It won’t be front line policing but it certainly could be something we wanted to purchase.”

Ch Supt Shaun Beebe said it was a successful operation, despite some shop owners complaining of an intimidating atmosphere.

“I also was out on the street at that time and it was very much the tail end of the protests where people were leaving the city centre, there were some minor skirmishes but by that time the bulk of the protests were moving towards the railway station.

“Clearly we would not have wanted any of our local shopkeepers or residents to feel intimidated but it was a very difficult time for us to work through.”

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