Police explain why they cannot prevent march by far-right group Yorkshire Patriots in Scarborough today
Police are on high alert ahead of a march by a far right group in Scarborough this afternoon, with a counter-demonstration due to be held in protest.
Stand up to Racism (SUTR) Scarborough has called a Unity Rally this afternoon, when the far right group Yorkshire Patriots plan to march through the town centre.
Disruption is expected in the vicinity of Vernon Road, Aberdeen Walk and the area outside the Brunswick Shopping Centre between 2pm and 4pm.
North Yorkshire Police say they have no legal powers to ban the march and have "engaged with representatives from both organisers to facilitate lawful protest."
In a statement they said: "North Yorkshire Police and Scarborough Borough Council understand the concerns of local people and local businesses about what this could mean for them, their families, their businesses and the town itself.
"We know that many local people do not want their town to be used as a venue for demonstrations.
"We also understand that some people may have an expectation that the police or council should ban such demonstrations.
"To be clear, we do not have any legal powers to do this. We therefore have to plan for them in order to ensure public safety for everyone."
The force said people could have confidence in the police to maintain public safety and urged people "not to be provoked into reacting to the demonstrations."
They said: "Peaceful protest is lawful and everyone’s right, but we do not want people coming into Scarborough intent on confronting any protesters.
"We are very experienced in managing demonstrations and large-scale events in Scarborough. So please let us handle the situation with the resources at our disposal.
"There will be plenty of police officers working in the town centre to ensure public safety. We are also working with British Transport Police in relation to the rail network and Scarborough Train Station.
"North Yorkshire Police will not tolerate damage to the town or acts of violence."