More than 670 officers will police an English Defence League (EDL) march and counter-protest in Cambridge tomorrow.
The massive police presence will deal with protesters from each group. And more than 25 local officers will take part in dedicated community patrols around the mosque in Mawson Road, off Mill Road, along with other possible flashpoints in the city centre.
Officers are also prepared for protesters from the EDL and Unite Against Fascism to pour onto Parker’s Piece during the city’s Big Weekend celebrations. Patrols will be put on at the train station and taxi ranks. They will be backed up by the hundreds of officers from forces in the region including Suffolk and Essex.
Insp Robin Sissons, who is running the community operation, said: "Certainly we don’t want it to affect the Big Weekend which has a reputation as a family event that we want to protect but we can’t stop people going onto the site. We will have police officers there who will be alert and able to deal with any sign of trouble. We want it to be business as usual and my phone has been red hot with all walks of businesses calling me saying they are going to stay open. The message is to keep calm and carry on."
Fears over the march raised by residents and traders have been dealt with by police. Insp Sissons said: "We are committed to listening to these concerns and doing everything in our power to alleviate them. We will continue to work with our key community contacts to ensure people are aware of our plans and we are dealing with community issues. For those planning on visiting the city this weekend, our message is clear - it’s business as usual. We understand people may be concerned but there is nothing to suggest they are at risk."