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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Vicinity Policing at Demonstrations

The subject of vicinity policing around football grounds is likely to stay in the headlines for some time. The cost of policing around Swansea's new stadium for the visit of Cardiff City earlier today must run into many thousands of pounds. Under police guidelines some of that cost could be laid at the door of Swansea City even if it was proved that Cardiff City supporters caused most of the trouble.

The bill sent to Hereford United after Swindon played at Edgar Street is still understood to be under discussion. In effect the police view appears to be that Hereford United staged the game and therefore are liable for the cost of policing not only in the ground but outside it as well.

The day after the Swindon game a demonstration was held outside the Sequani Laboratory in Ledbury. The number of police there was understood to be over one hundred with dogs and a helicopter included in the back up.


So who foots the bill for all this?

It would be unfair to send a bill to Sequani as they didn't organise the demonstration. So, if there is any logic in this, the bill should go to the protesters.


But they will say they have every right to demonstrate against the company who they believe to have an animal experimentation facility at the laboratories. And the 200 or so protesters appeared to have made sure they were not organised so it would be very difficult for the police to know to whom to send any bill.

So at the moment it appears that if there is a football match at Edgar Street, West Mercia police can charge Hereford United for vicinity policing.

But if there is a demonstration in the area, police would find it difficult to send a bill to anyone for vicinity policing.