No extra resources to police fracking site

Clive Grunshaw
Clive Grunshaw
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Pleas for extra cash to help cover the cost of policing anti-fracking demonstrations have fallen on deaf ears.

Lancashire Police has estimated the on-going protests linked to Cuadrilla’s plans to drill for shale gas at Preston New Road will cost the force an extra £450,000 a month.

Police and crime commissioner Clive Grunshaw had called on the Government for extra funding.

As it stands, the force will have to pay at least £2.6m before it can apply for additional help towards covering the costs of policing the protests.

Mr Grunshaw said: “Lancashire Police are faced with an ever rising bill to police the fracking protests.

“The Government has confirmed it has made no extra provision to help meet the costs of policing the protests.

“That’s £2.6m that could have been spent investigating child exploitation, serious crimes and domestic abuse, but instead is focussed on policing protests.”

Officers are providing a round the clock policing operation at the Preston New Road site where protestors have been camped out since January.

The force said its officers are there to facilitate peaceful protest and ensure businesses in the area are able to operate.

Mr Grunshaw added: “Our officer resources are being stretched to the limits and the Government has said that there will be no additional financial help until our costs reach £2.6m.

“Even then, we will only be able to claim anything over that initial cost.”

Protesters have argued the Government should pay up as it overruled local councilors who rejected Cuadrilla’s application to drill for shale gas.

Meanwhile the firm’s chief executive, Francis Egan, said a small group of ‘mostly non-local activists’ had broken the law and their actions were wasting public money.