Clive Grunshaw calls on the Government to meet the cost of policing the fracking protests14 March, 2017
Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has called on the Government to meet the costs of policing protests against fracking in Lancashire.
The Commissioner said: “The decision to allow fracking in Lancashire is a decision made in Westminster, but the people of Lancashire are being asked to pick up the tab of policing the protests that go with it.
“Sajid Javid couldn’t fail to have known when he granted this application that it would lead to protests at the test site, but he has made no provision for us in terms of funding the costs of policing this protest.
“Costs are currently running to hundreds of thousands of pounds and likely to reach the millions – these are costs we are having to meet now out of our police budget. However, the Government’s rules mean that Lancashire residents have to meet at least the first £2.6m. Only after that threshold has been passed can we apply for additional support and even then, there is no guarantee the government will pay.
“The site is off a main trunk road and the campaigners are putting themselves and our police officers at risk by some of the behaviour we have seen so the level of policing required is high.
“The officers are caught in the middle, they are local people themselves there to ensure the right to peaceful protest is upheld along with the right of people to go about their daily business. It’s a very difficult position for everyone to be in and one that is entirely of the Government’s making.”
Lancashire Police has already had to make savings of 25% meaning officer numbers have reduced by 800 since austerity began.
Its budget for 2017/18 fell again by 2% some of which has been made up by a small increase in council tax.
The Home Office permits police and crime commissioners to bid for extra funding for one-off policing costs when costs exceed 1% the net revenue budget but this is subject to a Government decision and there is no guarantee this will be funded.
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