Bradford’s police chief today vowed that anyone who causes trouble during demonstrations in the city this weekend will be brought to justice and severely punished.
Chief Superintendent Alison Rose said the reputation of the city was at stake and she would not allow anyone to undermine the good work that had been done in Bradford.
The city centre protests by supporters of the far-right English Defence League (EDL) and the left-wing group Unite Against Fascism (UAF) will be heavily policed.
Chief Supt Rose, divisional commander of Bradford South Police, said it was obvious that the repercussions of the 2001 riots were at the forefront of people’s minds.
But she emphasised: “There were a number of people brought to justice after 2001. They served a total of 600 years in prison. That demonstrates the power of the criminal justice system.”
She said the CCTV coverage across the city was the best it had ever been.
“We have a full evidence-gathering team in place and we will use every piece of legislation at our disposal to bring people to justice, irrespective of their political persuasion and irrespective of their ethnic background.”
Chief Supt Rose said everything possible had been done to make sure people were safe. She asked the people of Bradford, and those visiting the city, to use their common sense.
She said: “We will protect the right of people to peacefully protest in this city. What I won’t accept is anybody coming into this city, intent on causing trouble. Anyone who uses violence, whether that is racially-motivated violence, politically-motivated violence, or any kind of violence, against the people of Bradford, will be brought to justice. The punishments are severe.
“This isn’t just about a public order incident in isolation. This is about the reputation of this city.
“Many people have worked incredibly hard to move the city forward. A good example is the hard work put into neighbourhood policing. I won’t allow anything to undermine the way in which we police this city.
“The vast majority of Bradfordians don’t want anything to do with anybody who is coming here to cause trouble. What I say to anyone who thinks it’s all right to come out and cause trouble in the city, is to think very carefully before you do.”