Home Office asked to pay for policing BNP

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Indy Politics

The Home Office is to be asked to bear the £500,000 cost of policing a protest against an event staged by the British National Party. An estimated 1,500 people demonstrated against the three-day Red, White and Blue Festival at Codnor, in Derbyshire, and 19 people were arrested.

Four anti-fascist protesters were charged yesterda, three with public order offences and the fourth with unlawfully obstructing the highway. Two others were cautioned, two got on-the-spot fines and 10 were bailed pending further inquiries. All but one of those arrested were male.

Mick Creedon, the chief constable of Derbyshire, said he would plead for help from the Home Office in paying for the operation, which involved more than 500 officers. Mr Creedon believes the high cost of policing the festival, and keeping the peace between BNP supporters and anti-fascists protestors, is too much for the force to bear alone. Apart from a brief confrontation between police and protestors the demonstration on Saturday was largely peaceful.

Simon Darby, the BNP's deputy leader, said the protesters wanted to incite trouble so that the controversial party would be blamed. "We are just ordinary people having a bit of a laugh in the sun," he said.

The protesters, who came from across the country, joined a march organised by the campaign group, Unite Against Fascism.