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English Defence League in Preston: Police call for ‘no surprises’ during demonstration

Posted on - 19th February, 2016 - 11:36am | Author - | Posted in - Crime, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston News
Police officers on the Flag Market this week during a logistics exercise Pic: Tony Worrall

Police officers on the Flag Market this week during a logistics exercise Pic: Tony Worrall

A call for ‘business as usual’ has been made by senior police officers and council leaders ahead of a demonstration by the English Defence League in the city.

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Lancashire Police has released a lengthy statement explaining how they are planning to police the far-right group, a community event on the Flag Market and also deal with a major football fixture at Deepdale all on the same day.

A number of parking restrictions have been put in place ahead of Saturday’s protest and police have released details of what time and where the demo is to be.

Here is the full text of their letter to Preston:

“We understand and appreciate concerns raised around the protests taking place, however, we have to work proportionately and within the law and have a responsibility to remain impartial and facilitate a peaceful protest.

“We have learned from previous demonstrations and protests in the County, and as a result, have increased resources to ensure that we can deliver when we say we will not tolerate disorder or any form of hate crime, be that from either side of the protests.

“The location of each protest area has been carefully considered in conjunction with Preston City Council and a decision reached based on what, operationally, will help us to make people safer and allow the event to pass off peacefully.

“Although we are dealing with a significant event, it is really important to us that we allow the vast majority of our city to carry on as normal and feel safe while out on their day – to – day business.

“Our role in this operation is about fair and balanced policing – we’re here to keep the peace, treat people with respect and dignity and uphold the law. The requests we make of members of either group will be proportionate and lawful.

“Officers from the neighbourhood policing team will be visiting local mosques and community groups in the run up to the event to provide reassurance and a point of contact for any concerns.

“There is significant resourcing in place and so you will see an increased police presence in the city centre on the day.

“On the same day, there will be, what is expected to be, a very well attended football match at Preston North End’s ground at Deepdale. As a result, you may see bigger numbers of visitors in and around the city centre and Deepdale; but please bear in mind that not all will be here for the demonstrations.

“The game above as most people will be aware, is now an away sell out and there are no further tickets available on the day. No walks ups will be accepted and only home fans who are pre-registered with PNE will be sold tickets on the day.

“We are keen that we have open and transparent communication throughout and are approaching our planning to ensure there are ‘no surprises’ – none for the police, the community and businesses or the protesters.

“We will be working closely with Preston City Council to ensure that normality resumes in the protest areas as soon as possible following the events.

“For further information, contact a Police Community Beat Manager, city centre PCSO or call 101.”

What do you make of the police statement? Let us know your views in the comments below

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