That’s almost two million dollars. I have no problem with their spending money to have people there to monitor what he was saying, but that doesn’t seem to be what it was spent for. From the Times Online, with thanks to all who sent this in:
The Metropolitan Police has disclosed, after a successful Freedom of Information Act request by The Times, that the cost of supervising weekly gatherings outside Finsbury Park Mosque, North London, was Â£874,387. The figure is far in excess of previous estimates for the 22-month police operation….
Patrick Mercer, the Conservative frontbench spokesman on homeland security, said the taxpayer was facing a huge bill for allowing an extremist message to be preached on the streets of the capital.
“The effect of the police action was to make it easier for poison and subversion to be preached openly on our streets,” Mr Mercer said.
The open-air meetings began in January 2003 after the mosque, where Hamza had been the imam, was closed. The Egyptian-born cleric gave his sermons in St Thomas”s Road, close to Highbury stadium.
Initially large numbers of officers were involved in policing the events at which Hamza, 47, would deliver lectures in Arabic and English.
Tarpaulins were spread on the road, on which his congregation, often numbering 150 or more, would pray before listening to Hamza speak.
Between 12 and 18 uniformed officers were deployed to the site of the meetings for up to two hours each week. More police were required when counter-demonstrators threatened to disrupt an event.