THE Met says it is unable to calculate how much it cost to police an English Defence League (EDL) protest in Walthamstow because records were not kept in the usual way for such events.

The Waltham Forest Guardian asked the force under the Freedom of Information Act what the expense was of its operation to control a march by the far-right group through the borough on September 1.

This newspaper also enquired about the costs of policing a counter-demonstration the same day and a further anti-EDL protest in Walthamstow on October 27.

The Met says that "most events" of a high-profile nature are given a unique code so that costs can be calculated, although it says this was not done on either occasion in Walthamstow.

No explanation has been given why.

Police say each police officer's overtime form would need to be examined and this would be so costly that the information is exempt under the Freedom of Information Act.

A spokesman added that similar problems applied to working out other costs, such as the use of the Met's police helicopter.

He said: "[The Met] does not routinely record how much fuel the helicopter expends for any given amount of time and therefore this information would have to be created to answer your request."

However police forces elsewhere in the country have managed to calculate the costs involved.

An EDL demo in Bristol this July cost £495,000 with 1,300 officers and civilian staff drafted in.

And a similar protest in Leicester City Centre in October 2010 cost £850,000, according to the BBC.

The EDL protest on September 1 ended in chaos when counter-protesters, who greatly outnumbered the group's supporters, blocked its procession.

There were missiles thrown and arrests on both sides.

The extremist group threatened to return in October but were kept away by a ban on marches and static protests involving its members.

A counter-protest went ahead but some demonstrators broke the ban on moving processions and marched down Hoe Street, but there were no arrests.

The EDL had threatened to return to Walthamstow but since then has not made any announcements on the possibility of further marches in the area.