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The English Defence League (EDL) has announced via its Facebook page that it intends to protest in Worcester on Saturday, September 1.

West Mercia Police are working closely with event organisers and key partners to reassure the community, and have planned a proportionate and appropriate policing operation to protect communities from harm and prevent crime and disorder.

The Police and Crime Commissioner is working together alongside key representatives from Worcester City Council, Worcestershire County Council and Worcester Bid along with Worcester’s communities, ahead of the event to mitigate the risks of increased tension and to reassure people that the city remains united – a safe place to live, work and socialise.

Commissioner John Campion, said “Worcester is usually a safe and peaceful city, where diversity is welcomed. I am reassured by the police’s approach to ensure our communities can enjoy the city, whilst those who wish to peacefully protest can exercise this democratic right.”

“I understand the concerns from some members of the community, however I am reassured that a proportionate policing operation will be in place and by the united approach from partners to plan for this event. As commissioner I am committed to ensuring the police are fully resourced to facilitate the protest and keep all of our communities safe.”

Chief Supt Mark Travis of West Mercia Police, said: “We are aware of, and understand, the concerns among our local communities, I am confident we have resources to facilitate a lawful protest and to ensure the safety of everyone in the city.

“I can assure people in Worcester that police are working with a range of other agencies and partners and we will be prepared for this event. Protecting our communities and businesses from harm remains our focus.”

Chief Supt Travis added: “We are currently at an early stage of reviewing the intelligence, including community intelligence and concerns, surrounding the planned event. At this stage we are keeping an open mind to the planned activity on the day. The right to peacefully protest is a fundamental democratic right and our role is to prevent any crime and disorder and ensure a proportionate policing response is put in place. The situation will be continually monitored.”

David Blake, Worcester City Council Managing Director, said: “Worcester is a peaceful city with a strong sense of community, and we are working closely with the police and other partners to ensure that this remains the case on every day of the year.”

Worcestershire County Council’s Deputy Leader Councillor Adrian Hardman, said: “Worcestershire County Council sees the many benefits of working closely with partner organisations.”

“On this occasion, we will support the police and others wherever we can to ensure the safety of everyone in the city on September 1.”

Phoebe Dawson, Worcester Bid CEO, said: “Over the coming weeks we will be working to ensure that our businesses are clearly communicated to regarding this proposed event. Worcester BID will continue to play our part in ensuring that our city remains a safe location for our businesses and their visitors.”

Issued: Wednesday 1st August 2018