Shropshire Star

Britain First march: £83,000 policing bill ‘regrettable’

Telford & Wrekin Council’s community boss says it is “highly regrettable” that taxpayers were hit with a policing bill for more than £80,000 for a far right march.

Britain First protest in Telford

Dozens of officers were at hand to handle the demonstration between more than 150 members of the far-right group as well as anti-fascist counter-protesters in February.

But the whole operation cost the force a total of £83,007 – prompting a “clear” warning message for the group to stay away in future after residents were left counting the cost.

Councillor Arnold England, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for communities, said: “It is highly regrettable that £83,000 worth of public money had to be spent on policing this protest. We live in a free country and we totally respect people’s democratic right to express their opinions in a responsible manner.

“But you have to think that this money could have been spent on something a lot more positive which actually achieved something for the residents of Telford and Wrekin.”

This week leader of the Tory group on Telford & Wrekin Council, Councillor Andrew Eade, accused the group of robbing the community of its resources and has insisted they are not welcome in the town.

On February 25, the group marched from Telford Central Station to Darby House, near Telford Shopping Centre, holding flags and singing songs.

Police officers, including many on horseback, lined each section of the route, ensuring that unsuspecting members of the public were kept to the side as the procession came through.