£100k for two marches: The cost of right-wing protests in the Black Country

Right-wing protests in two Black Country towns cost West Midlands Police more than £100,000 in just two months, the E&S can reveal.

£100k for two marches: The cost of right-wing protests in the Black Country

Almost 700 police officers and staff were pulled in from all areas of the force to manage the latest EDL march in Walsall in August which it today emerged has cost just over £42,000.

This follows a bill for £60,000 for police to manage a similar march by members of All Football Fans/Firms Against Islamisation (AFFFAI) in Dudley in June.

Police at an EDL protest in Walsall town centre

Around 200 supporters gathered in Walsall last month for the demonstration.

The far-right group said they had come to Walsall 'to expose problems brought about by Islamification' but undercover Express & Star reporters exposed some participants snorting cocaine and one telling of a plan to cause trouble at a mosque.

A Freedom of Information request has now revealed that a total of 677 police officers and staff were drafted in for the event, including 450 officers on the ground.

The force estimates that policing the protest cost the force £42,371, although the figures are still being finalised. It amounts to around £10,000 for each hour protesters were gathered in the town.

Scenes from the recent EDL march in Walsall

West Midlands Police spokeswoman Susan Brown said today the figure related to overtime incurred by police staff and officers, briefing, feeding, printing, vehicle hire and any other miscellaneous costs.

She added: "The costs do not include the cost of duty time staff posted to this event from other duties within the West Midlands."

In Dudley around 200 protesters from AFFFAI marched through the town centre on June 13 – the third protest this year amid plans for a new mosque in Dudley.

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

The total police bill for marches in Dudley this year is now at around £414,700.

Councillor Elias Mattu, Wolverhampton Council's cabinet member for adults, said: "The police have to take precautions to protest members of the public from any harm. We could do without spending on this when the police budget has been cut .

"It's a shame the public have to end up paying for these protests which don't do any good for community relations."

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