Walsall EDL rally cost taxpayers nearly £35k

Walsall EDL rally cost taxpayers nearly £35k

Eye-watering details have emerged showing exactly how much it cost to police the English Defence League rally in Walsall last month.

West Midlands Police revealed how £33,779 was spent on policing the national demonstration in the town centre on April 7.

The EDL rally last month passed without major incident with just one arrest being made.

In total, 171 police officers were deployed while 31 vehicles – marked and unmarked – were used.

Three years ago in Walsall, £42,371 was spent on policing the EDL march with nine arrests reported.



Far right group the English Defence League (EDL) took to the streets of Walsall to protest about “terrorists plotting” and “drug trafficking”. Police lead EDL supporters away from the town centre

Meanwhile, in Birmingham last year (April 8, 2017), £54,403 was allocated with 232 officers and 70 vehicles used.

The figures were released after a Freedom of Information request.

Speaking to BirminghamLive, Councillor Aftab Nawaz, who represents St Matthew’s ward in Walsall town centre, said: “The EDL rally was not wanted and not welcome in Walsall.

“They have come to Walsall several times and caused disruption in our town centre with some shops and the historic market having to close every time they visit with their hate-filled message.



Far right group the English Defence League (EDL) took to the streets of Walsall to protest about “terrorists plotting” and “drug trafficking”

“The cost of the policing of the rally is shocking and more so when police budgets are under severe pressure from the Government’s austerity measures.

“Across St Matthew’s Ward, which covers the town centre, residents complain about the lack of police and slow police response.

“I am sure that the people of Walsall, and St Matthew’s particularly, would rather the money be spent on frontline policing in our neighbourhoods than be wasted on an unwanted far-right hate rally.”



Far right group the English Defence League (EDL) took to the streets of Walsall to protest about “terrorists plotting” and “drug trafficking”. Police lead EDL supporters away from the town centre

Chif Supt Andy Parsons, of Walsall police team, added: “We have a duty to positively police the fundamental right of peaceful protest and worked hard to ensure there was minimal impact on business as usual in the town centre.

“Working with other agencies and partners, we assess protests and events and provide an appropriate policing response where necessary.”

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