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Revealed: £1.9m cost of policing EDL’s east London march

PUBLISHED: 16:17 01 November 2013 | UPDATED: 16:17 01 November 2013

EDL March from Tower Bridge towards Aldgate

EDL March from Tower Bridge towards Aldgate

Archant

The cost of policing September’s English Defence League (EDL) march and counter demonstrations in east London was £1.9million, it can be revealed.

A massive police presence kept anti-fascist demonstrators separate from the EDL A massive police presence kept anti-fascist demonstrators separate from the EDL

More than 3,000 Met Police officers were on hand to keep order when thousands of protesters from the far right group and anti-fascist organisations turned out.

Almost 300 people were arrested on the Saturday, mainly for breaching stringent conditions imposed by police on the march.

Of the £1.9m spent on the operation, £700,000 was for police officers’ overtime pay, and £1.2m related to “opportunity costs” of diverting resources away from other duties, freedom of information requests revealed.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman, who was among those who called for the protest to be banned, said: “The cost of policing the EDL march is further evidence to support my belief that they should not be allowed to take place.

“A large amount of taxpayers’ money was required to ensure the safety of residents.”

The Met’s total budget for policing London is £3.6bn, with authorities targeting £765m savings between 2011 and 2015. Tower Hamlets police had a budget of almost £50m in 2011/12.

Three of the borough’s six police stations have seen services severely reduced, and official figures showed there are 161 fewer police and PCSO officers on Tower Hamlets’ streets in 2013 compared to 2010.

Labour’s Mayoral candidate John Biggs said the march should have been banned, and protesters should have been mindful of the “massive costs” of the police operation.

“Another consequence of the demonstration was that most other parts of London have had to do without a large part of their police service over several days as a result,” he added.

But the EDL’s former leader, Tommy Robinson – who was arrested and charged over not adhering to conditions of the march and encouraging others to do the same – said: “The police had to have a big presence on a day like that; it’s a difficult job for them.”

Scotland Yard was unable to provide a comment on the costs.

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