Notts Police are facing another mammoth operation with three major events taking place on the same day next month.
A far-right group, the English Defence League (EDL), is planning a protest in the city centre on Saturday, December 5. It is planned to coincide with a homecoming march by hundreds of troops from 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Worcesters & Foresters). And on the same day, Nottingham Forest take on Leicester City at the City Ground – a fixture which usually requires a heavy police presence.
Senior police officers are due to meet this Friday for the first of a number of talks on the policing arrangements for the three events. A force spokesman said: "We are aware that some members of the English Defence League intend to visit Nottingham in December. Over the coming days we will speak with the group to clarify what their intentions are."
The EDL is urging members through its website to attend the protest against "Radical Islam" on December 5. It is the latest in a number the group is staging in major UK cities. Nine people were arrested in Leeds city centre on Saturday during a police operation to keep apart the EDL and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) during two separate protests. About 900 EDL supporters staged a protest against Islamic extremism in City Square. A rival protest of up to 1,500 UAF supporters took place about 300 metres away.
The EDL's website describes the group as a "non-racist organisation demonstrating against the spread of radical Islam". The group says it is currently holding a number of "peaceful protests against extremist organisations that promote terrorism or those that seek to oppress others whether through religion or politics".
A group on a website has been set up, called EDL Anti Islamic Extremist March Nottingham, which has attracted more than 30 members.
The homecoming march by soldiers who have been on tour in Afghanistan, taking place on the same day, is expected to see hundreds of people of all ages taking to the city centre's streets, including many young families. The regiment, which includes soldiers from Notts, Derbyshire and Worcestershire, flew out in March this year to help train the Afghan National Army as part of a 400-strong battle force.
The major operation of policing the three events comes just weeks after the Notts Constabulary were left with a bill in excess of £600,000 after 600 officers from across the country stopped eco-protesters from breaking into Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station.
Notts Police are asking the Government for some of the money back. Notts Police Authority chairman Coun John Clarke added: "This could be a major operation and will leave us with another massive bill."
This is Nottingham