Campaign

Police reflect on Balcombe protest one year on

Police liaison officer denies his team collected intelligence on campaigners

In the final interview of our series Balcombe One Year On, Sergeant Mark Redbourn, a Police Liaison Officer with Sussex Police, looks back on the highs and lows of the anti-fracking protests outside Cuadrilla’s oil exploration site.

During the interview, Sergeant Redbourn, said:

“Whilst we were there no one was seriously hurt, the local residents did manage to go about their business without too much disruption, the protest was allowed to take place and the company did actually do what we believed they had a lawful right to do. That’s a hell of a balance. We are always going to upset someone at some point. I felt we came away in a reasonably good shape.

He also said:

  • PLOs did not pass on intelligence to the public order police officers
  • There was no police policy to deter campaigners from protesting
  • Officers should aim for greater consistency in policing any future long-running protests
  • Gaining the trust of campaigners was key to being a PLO
  • Children at Balcombe gave the protest site a community feel and reduced tensions
  • Police priorities were the safety of all at the site, followed by facilitating the protest and the company’s operations

Read the full interview here

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