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Far right marches cost West Midlands Police £415k

Dudley | News | Published:

Police spent nearly £60,000 managing the latest far-right protest in Dudley - bringing their bill for this year's marches to £414,700.

All Football Fans/Firms Against Islamisation (AFFFAI) with police in Dudley

Around 200 protesters from All Football Fans/Firms Against Islamisation (AFFFAI) were ushered by officers as they marched through the town centre on June 13 - the third protest this year over plans for a new mosque.

The cost to West Midlands Police stands at £59,900 with a possibility of further costs yet to be added to the bill.

It comes just a week after the EDL descended on Walsall, though the cost of the police operation is not yet known.

It has also been revealed a march by Britain First in Dudley in May cost the force £33,800 with the majority of money spent on paying officers' overtime. Other costs included paying for supplies and vehicles.

In February a march by the EDL cost £321,000 to police bringing the total bill for all three to £414,700.

Richard Costello, spokesman for West Midlands police and crime commissioner, David Jamieson, said managing the protesters pulled resources from neighbourhood policing.

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"As well as the monetary cost of these protests there is a huge cost to local policing," he said. "The protests in Dudley mean that police have to focus their efforts there instead of on local policing in the West Midlands and the rest of Dudley.

"Ordinary people in Dudley are clearly weary of these constant protests and are fed-up with the effect they are having on their local policing.

"We would much rather that this money was spent on other things, but we have no choice other than to facilitate protests that are peaceful.

"We are pleased that costs have gone down, but would much rather that we didn't have to spend the money at all."

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The latest figures, published in response to a Freedom of Information request, add to the spiralling spending surrounding plans for a new mosque on land off Hall Street.

The overall bill now tops £1.8 million when including costs for two EDL rallies in 2010 and legal fees paid out by Dudley Council and the Dudley Muslim Association (DMA).

This year alone the council spent £45,000 on security and clearing up after the three protests in the town.

Another march has been planned for September 12 by organisers of the AFFFMAI march operating under a new name, United Against Islamisation.

Meanwhile Dudley Council and the DMA are set to return to court in October after council bosses rejected a £325,000 out-of-court settlement offer earlier this month.

DMA leaders are uncertain about whether to join a proposed action group to thrash out more talks with the council.

The action group, formed of councillors and the mosque's leadership, would look at sites other than that proposed off Hall Street to report back by the end of the year.

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