English Defence League protest in Leicester cost police and council £850,000
The final bill for dealing with last year's English Defence League protest was £850,000.
Leicestershire police yesterday reported it spent £715,225 on the group's demonstration in the city centre on Saturday, October 9.
Leicester City Council has previously told the Mercury that it had spent an estimated £130,000 on preparing the city for the protest and a large community event the next day. Yesterday, the council confirmed the final figure was £137,000.
Leicestershire police deployed up to 2,000 officers – about half of them drafted in from 12 constabularies across the country – to "ensure public safety" on the day, at a cost of about £590,000.
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The overtime bill for Leicestershire officers and police staff came to almost £60,000, while other costs, such as transport and catering, came to a combined £65,000.
Police estimates put the number of EDL supporters in Humberstone Gate East at 1,000, while a counter protest by Leicester Unite Against Fascism (UAF) drew about 700 people.
Some people in the EDL section pelted officers with bottles, cans, bricks and coins during their two-hour protest.
Another group of its followers broke through police lines to engage in running battles with local youths and officers.
Chief Superintendent Rob Nixon, the city's most senior officer, said: "We had to facilitate demonstrations by the EDL and UAF – they have a right to protest.
"Our main role was to ensure public safety. We knew there was a potential for widespread disorder and that led us to plan the size of operation we did.
"The costs were in line with those for policing similar demonstrations elsewhere in the country.
"The vast majority of the cost was spent on bringing in enough officers from other forces to ensure public safety.
"We also had to spend money on catering for those officers, transport and similar support."
A total of 24 people have now been charged, given a police caution or convicted of crimes associated with the demonstration.
Several of those already dealt with by the courts have been identified as associates of the EDL, which says it is against Islamic extremism.
The UAF told the Leicester Mercury last month it was not aware of any of its members being arrested on the day or subsequently.
The Mercury revealed in November that Leicester City Council's bill for the demonstration and the following day's We Are One Leicester celebration had been about £130,000.
The authority organised a series of road closures, diverted buses and boarded up businesses in Humberstone Gate and the surrounding area.
It also helped community groups stage "diversionary" events on the Saturday in order to keep young people away from the city centre.
People aged under 16 could use their swimming pools free on the Saturday. The council estimated the cost of that at £5,000 of its £137,000 total bill.
When the Mercury first reported on the city council's bill, the authority's chief executive, Sheila Lock, said: "Protecting the city and its traders, and keeping young people safe from the potential for trouble, was a priority. I think we successfully did that."
City centre manager Sarah Harrison said yesterday: "There has been a lot of talk about how much this protest cost the public purse but there was a cost to the retailers as well.
"Some of the shops reported takings down by anything between 40 and 70 per cent on the day of the protest, although some said what they lost on the Saturday they pulled back much of on the following day.
"There was a lot of good communication between the police, the city council and the retailers before, during and after the day.
"Businesses have told us that they felt they were in safe hands throughout."