Police to raid dwindling reserves to cover future EDL marches

An EDL protest in Rotherham last year
An EDL protest in Rotherham last year

South Yorkshire Police’s dwindling reserves will have to be raided to cover the costs of further demonstrations by groups such as the EDL, it has been warned.

The force expects to have just £12m left in its general reserve by March next year – and is forecasting almost £4m will need to be taken out of this immediately to cover anticipated budget shortfalls for the 2015-16 financial year.

A financial report says the force has not budgeted for policing any further protests and demonstrations in South Yorkshire following a wave of demonstrations in the wake of the grooming scandal.

Around £4m has been spent policing marches in Rotherham and Sheffield by groups such as the English Defence League and Britain First in the past three years.

The finance report said: “Any additional costs arising from the requirement to police events such as any EDL marches, or those of similar organisations, are not budgeted for and therefore reserves need to be sufficient to meet future expenditures of this nature.”

The figures emerged as South Yorkshire Chief Constable David Crompton called for an end to such protests.

He said funds and resources to protect victims of crime are being absorbed by the constant demand to police protests.

South Yorkshire businesses are also concerned about the impact of repeated protests, particularly in Rotherham, where there have been 14 in three years.

The police chief is now taking legal advice to look for ways to ban further protests.

Mr Crompton said: “While we respect all individual’s right to protest we must balance this against local people’s right to enjoy their town centre, the businesses’ right to trade and the need to fund wider policing.”