Police chief’s futile bid to keep out EDL

The top cop in West Yorkshire has been denied powers to restrict a far-right group’s protests in Calderdale. Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police Sir Norman Bettison has told the Courier he wrote to the Home Office after the English Defence League’s demonstration in Bradford last August, suggesting measures to minimise their impact on communities in his area. But the Home Office turned him down.

“I have no power to stop them coming,” said Sir Norman, who was asked if he would consider stopping the group from protesting because of the massive cost to the force. “After the EDL’s protest in Bradford nearly a year ago I wrote to the Home Office suggesting that they could put in controls,” he said.

His proposals including limiting the number of protesters who could come. He questioned why an area that did not want the group to visit should have to put up with the disruption to the community, businesses and expense to the police and local authority. But the response he received from the Home Office was that there was no likelihood of any restrictions.

Calderdale Council estimates the EDL’s last protest in Halifax, on July 9, cost taxpayers more than £140,000 – at least £1 for every adult in the district.

Halifax Courier, 25 August 2011