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Last Updated: Friday, 13 July 2007, 18:44 GMT 19:44 UK
Protester raid cost police 111k
Brian Haw
Brian Haw has resisted attempts to silence him
Police spent 111,000 last year on a crackdown on an anti-war protest outside Westminster.

Brian Haw, 57, has held vigil in Parliament Square for six years, using a megaphone to attack the government policy on Iraq.

Seventy-eight officer shifts were devoted to the overnight raid to scale back Mr Haw's encampment on 23 May 2006, Scotland Yard figures show.

Mr Haw, of Redditch, Worcs, has blocked several attempts to have him removed.

Legal battle

He has staged a continuous vigil against the Iraq war outside Parliament since 2 June 2001.

Mr Haw won a legal battle to remain in place due to a drafting error in a new law banning unauthorised protests in Westminster.

The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 states anyone wanting to demonstrate in a 1km (0.62 miles) "exclusion zone" around Parliament must seek permission from the police.

He was granted permission to continue his protest but on the condition that his placards, which were spread over 40m, were reduced to just 3m.

During last May's raid, police moved in to enforce the conditions - putting many banners, pictures and placards in a large metal container.

Extra patrols

A Scotland Yard report delivered to the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) stressed "a large proportion of costs quoted do not represent additional costs to the MPS.

"Rather, the officers and other staff assigned to a given operation would be assigned to other policing duties or operations," the document added.

The figure included in the report is more than four times greater than the 27,000 previously estimated.

The government and the police have contrived to make a mountain out of a molehill
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg

However, that original figure did not reflect the cost of extra police patrols of the area in days following the raid.

"The final cost incorporates the high visibility patrols over the following days to ensure any subsequent but related protests did not break the law, obstruct movement in and around the area or disrupt the important business of parliament," a Scotland Yard spokesman said.

A further 358 officer shifts were devoted to these "high visibility" patrols.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg said government attempts to remove Mr Haw had been expensive and "laughably incompetent".

"The government and the police have contrived to make a mountain out of a molehill," he said.

Jenny Jones, who represents the Green Party on the London Assembly and MPA, called for Scotland Yard to stop enforcing the legislation.

"The commissioner should tell his officers to back off from the protesters and focus on the real problems faced by Londoners," she said.


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