Proposed demonstration by the English Defence League

17 Sep 2015

We have been made aware that the English Defence League (EDL) is planning to hold a demonstration in Aylesbury town centre on Saturday 10th October.

Aylesbury’s many different communities enjoy very good relationships and the town has a strong supportive community. The demonstration will present a challenge for the town – particularly around changing perceptions following our last demonstration in 2010. However like our experience in May 2010, Thames Valley Police, Aylesbury Vale District Council, Buckinghamshire County Council, Aylesbury Town Council and representatives of community groups are working together to make sure that the demonstration is well managed and peaceful. We want to minimise the impact this event has on our town.  Our aim is to ensure that the demonstration causes minimal disruption to businesses, residents and visitors and that the town remains open for business as usual.

This briefing note is part of a reassurance strategy, and provides the basic facts about what we know is being planned in October, and explains the actions the police and partner agencies are taking. Apart from general information about the demonstration, it includes answers to questions that you may have.

As with any event of this nature, things can change and information is still being gathered and so plans may change. At the end of this briefing note, you will find a section called What businesses can do to help.

Please take the time to read this and, in particular, sign-up to the email register so that we can keep you and your staff informed - you can also help us reassure customers and visitors about the preparation and planning which is in place to ensure that people can go about their business as usual.    

Your questions answered

We are sure you will have many questions and you are welcome to come to the meeting. This briefing note just focuses on the information that we can give you at this stage.

Who is the English Defence League?

The EDL is not a banned or proscribed organisation.  They hold frequent demonstrations throughout the country, usually at weekends.

What is the EDL planning to do in October?

The EDL is planning to hold a demonstration in the town on 10th October from 12.30 until 3 pm. They have provided the police with notification of their intention. It is likely that they will walk in to the town centre and will require an area to gather for speeches.

It is likely that other groups may also attend but details of what they are planning are unclear at this time.

Why don’t you just stop the demonstration?              

The police do not have powers to ban public assemblies. Thames Valley Police has a duty to facilitate peaceful protest. The police and the council are, however, instructing event organisers that they must work with the local Safety Advisory Group to ensure that events are safely planned, properly marshalled and held in accordance with specific requirements made of them.

Aylesbury Vale District Council, Buckinghamshire County Council and Aylesbury Town Council, wish to make it clear that they do not welcome the EDL’s visit to Aylesbury or anywhere else in the Vale and are disappointed that they have chosen to come here again.

Our collective focus is on ensuring that the demonstration causes minimal disruption to businesses, residents and visitors and that the town remains open for business as usual.

Will the demonstration be the same as that in May 2010?

Many people may remember the EDL visit to Aylesbury in 2010. This was one of the first demonstrations held by the EDL. Since 2010 there have been many EDL and similar demonstrations in towns and cities up and down the country that have passed without major incident.

Discussions will be held with the EDL to agree the arrangements for the demonstration and the needs of local people and businesses will be at the forefront of these.

Is it safe to come to Aylesbury that day?

Thames Valley Police and all the partner organisations want to reassure everyone who lives, works and socialises in the town centre that the police operation on the day will be tailored to ensure that residents and visitors are able to go about their business as usual.

Recent similar demonstrations in both Slough and Oxford had business as usual with shops staying open to trade.

Should I take any action to protect my premises?

Our collective focus is on ensuring that the demonstration causes minimal disruption to businesses, residents and visitors and that the town remains open for business as usual.

In the unlikely event that you are approached by anyone advising you to board up your premises, please note that this is not the official recommendation.

When will I hear about more detailed plans?

We are communicating with the EDL to understand their plans. As more details emerge, we will continue to communicate with you by email and an information page will be set up on the Aylesbury Vale District Council web page – more details about this will follow shortly. In the meantime a meeting has been arranged for local businesses and organisations to discuss the information that we have so far: Thursday 24 September at 4 pm at the Bucks County Museum, please go to reception where you will be directed to the room. Please only send one representative per business as the room does have a maximum number and we would like to ensure every business/organisation can attend if they so wish.

What can businesses do to help?

  • If you have been passed this email to you by another business or organisation - please email your email address to tcm@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk so that we can keep everyone up to date quickly.
  • Dispel rumour and encourage information.
  • If you come across any hate/intolerant graffiti please take a picture of it before removal and advise Diana Fawcett (Town Centre Manager), who will inform the police.
  • Ensure that your CCTV is working.

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