Call for greater powers to be able to consider banning protests in the county (29 Jul 2015)

The West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson has repeated his call for greater powers to be able to consider banning protests in the county.

The renewed call comes after figures show that more than £750,000 was spent by West Yorkshire Police policing just one EDL demonstration.

Money can be given back by the Home Office to help cover the costs of such events but on this occasion the application was rejected.

Mark Burns-Williamson, said:

"West Yorkshire Police is facing an unprecedented time of governments cuts and by 2016/17 the police's budget will have reduced by 30% with more cuts to come.

"Despite these severe government cuts I have always done everything I can to protect front-line 'neighbourhood' policing.

"That job is made more difficult, however, by having to pay vast sums to facilitate events such as an EDL demonstration which we have very little control on whether or not it goes ahead.

"£758,289 for the policing of one EDL demonstration is £758,289 that has to be found from the ever shrinking police budget and the community impact of such a damaging and disruptive demonstration and the costs incurred to our communities at a time of these cuts makes the current legislative arrangements hugely questionable.

"The Home Office does have the power to provide a grant towards the cost of such events and initially made a positive indication that we would receive money only to tell us nearly a year later that we would not. I was not happy with that decision and asked that it be reconsidered but our appeal was rejected.

"I have previously written to the Home Secretary to request greater local powers to be able to ban a protest in consultation with police, partners and the community and I repeat this call."

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