Police costs of protests in Bournemouth released

Dorset Police can now release the costs of a police operation which facilitated two planned protests in Bournemouth during the summer.

On Saturday 23 August 2014 Dorset Police together with partners dealt with two planned protests in the town centre. The additional costs of the police operation have now been collated and totalled £130,000.

The English Defence League protest and the counter-protest by various groups coordinated by Unite the Union passed peacefully along agreed routes.

Officers took an active and visible role on the day to minimise any risks as the groups moved along their routes and disruptions were kept to a minimum. Road closures were lifted as soon as the demonstrations had moved from the respective areas.

The public was kept constantly updated with real-time information about any disruptions and the movements of the marches on the Dorset Police website and via Twitter. Residents and visitors were able to enjoy the town largely as normal with many praising the policing on the day.

Superintendent Nicky Searle, Gold Commander for the operation, said: “We are now able to release the costs of the police operation, as we said we would. This expenditure includes £115,000 for the help we requested through mutual aid from other forces across the south of England. This was necessary to ensure that the service provided to Dorset residents locally remained unaffected during the course of the operation.

“The operation was intelligence led throughout, and the levels of police officers deployed and available were reviewed regularly to ensure that they met the threat and risk posed by the EDL rally and counter protest. Dorset Police engaged with both groups throughout the planning process to balance their needs with those of the wider public. Partners took full part in planning the operation and their support was integral.

“The police and other public authorities have a clear legal obligation to facilitate peaceful protest; this includes permitting some disruption to other people and the expression of views which some may find distasteful or may disagree with. We are also obliged to meet the additional policing costs, which were constantly reviewed but were necessary. We carefully balanced this right to peaceful protest with the rights of others to go about their normal business. We facilitated both marches to keep everyone safe as they moved through the town and provided information to help minimise disruption. No crimes or disorder in relation to the marches occurred.

“Working in partnership with our key stakeholders across Bournemouth and Poole we succeeded in minimising the impact on the town during a busy Bank Holiday Saturday.”

Issued: 1 December 2014

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