The policing of far-right demonstrations by the English Defence League (EDL) and Britain First outside London cost taxpayers almost £6 million between 2014 and 2016.
The reported figure does not include an additional £10 million spent by London’s Metropolitan Police on similar protests staged by far-right groups in the capital over the same period, according to Huffington Post.
Britain First genuinely makes me 😂 sad to see so much of the taxpayers money went to waste trying to educate these morons
— Matthew Thorby (@mattthorby) March 18, 2016
@BritainFirst Oh fgs stop costing the taxpayers a fortune to have a jolly,shouty,abusive,disruptive day out!
— Ness Webley (@rednessie) June 16, 2015
Police forces from South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and West Midlands footed over two thirds of the bill – more than £4.1 million between them.
Pressure continues to mount on police forces due to the increase in far-right protests and counter demonstrations, with authorities calling on the Home Office to either provide more financial assistance, or curb the number of marches taking place.
Head of the South Yorkshire Police Federation Neil Bowles insisted the money could be better spent elsewhere by “correcting what they are demonstrating about.”
A total of £5,800,142 was spent policing the far-right marches, a freedom of information request revealed.
A report from Hope Not Hate showed that far-right groups increased the number of demonstrations staged across the UK in 2015.
Chief executive of the anti-racism organization, Nick Lowles, also warned of the “rising militancy of Britain’s far-right” which he said would lead to “greater violence in 2016.”
Opposition to hate groups though appears to be increasing.
Last week, Britain First was forced to abandon a demonstration in Leicester after local residents made it abundantly clear members of the far-right group were not welcome in the city.
Last year, Olly Martins, the police and crime commissioner for Bedfordshire, wrote to Home Secretary Theresa May, requesting a ‘balance’ between the right to protest and protection of local communities amid huge cuts in funding for forces across England.
“It cannot be right, in this time of austerity and police funding reductions that a small force such as Bedfordshire and its local taxpayers must bear the burden of these extremist demonstrators,” he said.
Britain First leader Paul Golding was arrested this week for again setting up a stand in Leicester and breaching his bail.
Britain First obviously enjoyed getting run out of town so much last weekend that they’ve come back to Leicester for a repeat performance
— Grace Petrie (@gracepetrie) May 28, 2016