WORCESTER’s senior police chief has paid tribute to city shoppers after a planned demonstration by the English Defence League (EDL) passed off without incident.
Around 150 people from the EDL and 250 counter-protestors attended the event. No officers or members of the public were injured during the demonstrations.
Working with local residents, business owners and partner agencies, West Mercia Police were also supported by police officers from Warwickshire, West Midlands, Staffordshire, Avon and Somerset (mounted units), Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire police forces to enable lawful and peaceful protests whilst also ensuring people could go about their daily business in the city centre.
Upon the dispersal of the protestors and counter-protestors, officers have been engaging with retailers and licenced premises in the city and are receiving hugely positive feedback that the day’s trade was good and people felt safe, comfortable and confident.
Three arrests were made as part of the policing operation, one for criminal damage and two for breaches of dispersal orders.
Chief Supt Mark Travis said: “I would like to thank the people and communities of Worcester for their support and patience and throughout the whole policing operation.
“I would also like to thank all of our officers and staff, including those from supporting forces, who enabled the demonstrations to pass peacefully and without incident.
“We engaged with the organisers of both groups which helped to ensure the event was safe for those taking part and for the local community.
“Partners from a range of organisations worked hard to ensure disruption to the area was minimal with some road closures and minor delays whilst protestors and counter-protestors walked from their muster points to assembly points.”
Phoebe Dawson, CEO for Worcester Business Improvement District, said: “While we would rather that Worcester had not been the target of an EDL march, the partnership approach adopted by the police and agencies has enabled our city to continue to trade as usual and for that the BID and the businesses we represent are entirely grateful.”
David Blake, Managing Director of Worcester City Council, said: “We’re grateful to the police, city council officers and everyone else who worked so hard to ensure these demonstrations passed off peacefully and that the city centre remained open for business.”
Chief Fire Officer Nathan Travis said: “HWFRS thanks West Mercia Police for leading this successful multi-agency activity which enabled residents, retailers and shoppers of Worcester to safely enjoy business as usual.