500 police officers in Rotherham as English Defence League return to town

By Sam Cooper | 24/02/2017

500 police officers in Rotherham as English Defence League return to town
Chief Supt Rob Odell

MORE than 500 police officers will be in the town centre tomorrow (Saturday) to help keep a planned protest by far-right group the English Defence League and a counter demonstration peaceful.

Chief Supt Rob Odell, who is leading the policing of the protests, said staff from forces in the North East would be brought in to help.

He said: “We are not expecting the numbers of protesters we’ve had in the past — it will probably be between 100 and 200.

“We will have just over 500 officers from forces across the country and in particular the North East region.

“Our intention is to provide enough officers to make the demonstration and counter demonstration pass peacefully.”

Chief Supt Odell said restrictions imposed under the Public Order Act meant the EDL would meet outside Main Street police station from 2pm before heading up Westgate and onto Ship Hill to Rotherham Town Hall, where speeches will be held from around 3pm.

Rotherham Unite Against Fascism will hold a counter demonstration in Minster Gardens.

Chief Supt Odell: “We have placed strict conditions under the Public Order Act to minimise the time they are spending in the town centre.

“We have used Sections 12 and 14 of the Act to control the numbers, the muster point, the times, the route and all aspects of the operation and that happens in any protest, including the counter protest — not just the EDL.”

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