Clashes cost the tax payer over £250,000

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Round About -

Vi­o­lent clashes in Dover t hat saw weapons seized, blood­ied faces and bro­ken bones have cost the tax payer more than £250,000.

Po­lice and crime com­mis­sioner Ann Barnes re­leased the fig­ures on Tues­day and said a re­view would be held.

More than 400 of­fi­cers tried to keep demon­stra­tors apart over five hours, but some hurled rocks, threw punches and chanted abuse.

Both sides of the con­flict had their vig­i­lantes. The anti-fas­cists threw ob­jects at the South East Al­liance and Na­tional Front sup­port­ers.

Trade was down and some shops had to close where the clashes peaked in Big­gin Street and Mar­ket Square.

Those who did ven­ture into town, looked on in shock at the chaotic and fright­en­ing scenes.

Dover MP Char­lie El­ph­icke has vowed he “won’t let this go” and he lam­basted po­lice chiefs for al­low­ing two op­pos­ing protests within hours of each other.

One fright­ened woman warned po­lice some­one would be killed if it was al­lowed to con­tinue.

An­other res­i­dent, push­ing through the cor­doned off Folke­stone Road, called out to the vis­it­ing pro­test­ers: “I’ve lived in Dover all my life and I’ve never seen any- thing like this. Go back home. We don’t want you here.”

But the scenes only got worse, with strangers to the town in­flict­ing more dam­age and blood­shed.

Mr El­ph­icke said: “It was wrong for el­derly peo­ple out do­ing their shop­ping to be left in fear. It was wrong for fam­i­lies to have to hide in shops while a bay­ing mob roamed the streets out­side. It was wrong that busi­nesses, the port and our lo­cal econ­omy were dis­rupted.

“The first call of the po­lice should have been to keep the peo­ple of Dover safe and se­cure. They had the pow­ers to do so. They did not use them. That was wrong.”

Of­fi­cers seized 20 weapons, and 17 ar­rests were made – seven amid the worst scenes in the town cen­tre and 10 at mo­tor­way ser­vices near Maid­stone in the morn­ing. CCTV con­tin­ues to be re­viewed.

Mrs Barnes de­fended the way the force dealt with the dis­tur­bances but warned the county was likely to see sim­i­lar marches and demon­stra­tions in the runup to the ref­er­en­dum on the EU.

She added that the polic­ing costs were sig­nif­i­cant and she did not ex­pect “to get much change out of £250,000”.

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