Walsall Police’s Chief Inspector Martin Hurcomb has been busy working on the policing plans for next week’s English Defence League protest in the town.
And police say preparations are well in hand for the “peaceful” demonstration on Saturday 15th August.
Trained police negotiators have been in regular contact with both the EDL and counter protesters to identify their intentions and stress the importance that members protest peacefully.
Organisers have told police they are planning a peaceful protest in Walsall (police have no powers to ban groups from exercising their democratic right to protest) but police say they will take decisive action against anyone who creates disorder or behaves aggressively.
Walsall Police say that It’s not clear exactly how many protesters will turn up on 15th August. Around 500 people have apparently indicated on Facebook that they intend to attend but police have stated that in their experience the actual figure on the day tends to be considerably lower.
Location and timing
Following negotiations police and the organisers have now agreed in principle that EDL members will meet at the Oak Inn Public House, Green Lane, at approximately 9am. EDL members will make their way towards the Art Gallery Square at 1pm (details of the walk/march are still being finalised). Police anticipate the demonstration will conclude at approximately 3pm.
Police say that local residents and retailers can rest assured they will have sufficient resources in place to safely manage any sized protest. Specially trained police liaison teams will also be deployed. They are easily identifiable by the blue tabards that they wear. Their role includes communication, negotiation and mediation with various groups on the day. PLO’s have, said Chief Inspector Hurcomb today, “…proved a real success in recent demonstrations in Dudley and Birmingham.”
Open public meetings about the protest have been arranged by Walsall Police at Walsall Town Hall. One took place yesterday evening, and a second is set to happen on Wednesday 12th August 2015 – 6pm at Walsall Town Hall again, admission will be via the Leicester Street entrance
The meetings are intended as an opportunity for people to ask questions or raise concerns.
Business as usual
Walsall Police’s underlying message is that 15th August will be “business as usual” in Walsall. Chief Inspector Hurcomb said in an online chat session today:
“There is no need for anyone to cancel plans to visit the town centre and there is no reason for businesses to close for the day. Buses and trains, as of today, will run as per usual. The Traffic Management Team for the Council will continue to provide regular updates over the next week to help keep the public fully updated.”
Walsall Police have also engaged with members of ‘We are Walsall’, who will hold a celebration of diversity and unity event from 11am on 15th August at The Crossing at St Paul’s, Walsall, by the bus station. This event is being supported by Walsall Council – further details can be obtained via the Walsall Council website.
A police leaflet on the protests can be downloaded in pdf format via the following link:
For the latest news on the protest see: www.west-midlands.police.uk/latest-news/protests/walsall or by following Chief Inspector Martin Hurcomb AKA @ChInspHurcomb on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChInspHurcomb
Information courtesy Walsall Police