December 01, 2008

£250,000 cost of protest over BNP festival

Over-enthusiastic policing for the unnecessary and deliberately
provocative Red, White and Blue annual piss-up

Dealing with violent protests which broke out during a controversial BNP festival cost Derbyshire police a quarter of a million pounds.

The figure has been revealed by Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon, who said the two-day Red, White and Blue event, in Denby, had to be staffed by up to 400 officers. During the event, anti-BNP protesters clashed with police, leaving residents trapped inside their homes. Those who live near the site have now called for police to try to prevent any future festival being held in the village.

Mr Creedon said the £250,000 cost of policing the event was made up of providing police officers, as well as paying for overtime, planning for the event before it took place and the use of the police helicopter. The force also had to provide food and mobile toilets for officers based at the site.

Mr Creedon said: “This is an example of a national event that has financial implications on the force because it is being held in the county. We are responsible for policing and staffing the event without any additional support at all from central Government. We have not asked for this event to be held in Derbyshire, but we have to spend the money on policing it. The police can seek a contribution to the costs in limited circumstances. Where the police are providing additional assistance to an organiser in order to facilitate an event such as a football match a charge can be levied. However, where the police are deploying resources to protect the local community and combat potential crime this event, we cannot.”

During the two-day event in August, which was held on land owned by BNP member Alan Warner, masked anti-BNP activists fought hand-to-hand with riot officers on the first day of the festival, pelting them with stones. The violence happened when protesters tried to barricade a road leading to the festival. Police armed with batons moved in to quell the demonstrators, making 34 arrests. All those arrested remain on police bail.

Mr Warner said: “It is a lot of money but we did not ask for any police presence, we had our own security for the event.”

News of the £250,000 cost of policing outside the festival comes just days after Mr Creedon talked about why his force needs at least another £4m to help tackle major issues such as terrorism and serious and organised crime. He said investigations into these areas were taking up more police time than ever, which meant a greater cost to the Derbyshire force.

John Lumsden, 65, of Codnor-Denby Lane, Denby, said he hoped police would object to any future festival being held in the area. He was left trapped inside his home while the demonstrations took place. He said: “I think £250,000 is a disgusting figure. That is money that could be better spent on other resources. That cost is only the start. The protesters were only at the site for one day this year, I know for a fact that if it is held in Derbyshire again they are going to be around for two days.”

And Brian Bentley, 76, also of Codnor-Denby Lane, said: “This is a huge amount of money and I suppose it is the people of Derbyshire that are going to have to pay for it.”

Simon Darby, BNP spokesman, said protesters should pay towards the police’s costs for the event. He said: “None of the arrests were from the party. I think that says it all. “

Mr Creedon said: “Under the Licensing Act 2003, the police can object to anyone serving alcohol or public entertainment. We successfully objected to the alcohol and music licences but it was not legally possible to totally prevent other activities taking place on private land. However, if there are plans to stage a similar event next year we will consider it on the basis of intelligence at the time.”

Judy Mallaber, Labour MP for Amber Valley, said she hoped the BNP held its event elsewhere next year. She said: “I sympathise with Mr Creedon in that this is a national event of which costs have to be incurred by his force. I will raise this with ministers and I, along with other MPs in Derbyshire, are continuing to raise the issue of funding for the Derbyshire force.”

Derbyshire Evening Telegraph


Anonymous said...

They ought to make the BNP pay for this. It was their event, after all. Don't football teams have to contribute to the costs of policing matches?

Bolsoveran said...

"We successfully objected to the alcohol and music licences"

Well that was a waste of time. The BNP made several hundred booze runs into the village and cleared the shelves of the local offie. As usual, there was a ton of drink on site.

Anonymous said...

In response to Anon @ 9.08pm we asked that very same question in Barking & Dagenham and it would appear that under the rules laid out for Met Police and i should imagine then all police forces NO they cant charge them.

As we found out to our cost in B & D. Every time Dicky wants to get on his soap box, or his bloody pony playing St George to a purple furry dragon its costs us 1000ss.

Still hopefully for Derby it was make the Police objections next time more robust, cost he wont get the extra money from the Home Office.

And also it will then flag up to any Chief Constable or Borough Commander just what the cost is for BNP activity in their area.

Should finally one hopes put a stop to their RWB and all that goes with it. Cos if the Chief Constable is paying out for that he is going to have to cut costs elsewhere and that will mean that the residents start to suffer because crime is not being effectively tackled because of budget pressures that are unnecessary.