Legal

“Government approved fracking so it should pay for protest police” – Lancs PCC

Clive Grunshaw Lancs pcc

Clive Grunshaw (right) at Preston New Road, 8 March 2017

Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire said this evening the government had given the go-ahead for fracking in the county and so it should pay to police the protests.

Clive Grunshaw said he had written to the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, about the pressures on the county of policing protests outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road.

In October 2016, Mr Javid approved planning permission for Cuadrilla’s plans to drill, frack and test up to four shale gas wells at Little Plumpton near Blackpool.

Referring to this, Mr Grunshaw said:

“This is not a problem made in Lancashire, this is a decision that the Government made after Lancashire turned it down.”

In a statement he added:

“The Government gave the go ahead for this experimental drilling, they should foot the bill for policing the protest.”

Lancashire Police was unable to provide an estimate of the cost of the protests so far. But earlier this week Mr Grunshaw expressed concern about funding the protests:

“Officers keeping people safe at Preston New Road are taken from across Lancashire – spreading the blue line even thinner. It is a burden being born by Lancashire taxpayers – that is unfair and unjust.”

On Wednesday, he visited the protests on the side of Preston New Road, a main route into Blackpool with a 50-mile-an-hour speed limit. He spoke to people, some of whom have been opposing Cuadrilla’s operation since work began on 5 January 2017.

Mr Grunshaw said today:

 “Policing a protest on such a busy road is demanding and fraught with risk and is drawing on our available resources at a time when we are already stretched.

“Our officers are policing in very difficult circumstances striking a balance between the right to peaceful protest and the right for people to go about their daily business. It is a difficult and pressured and environment and I have seen for myself the pressure they are under.

“Today I’ve written to  Sajid Javid highlighting the pressures we are facing in Lancashire having to police protests in Preston New Road as a result of the test fracking sites.”

10th Mar 2017 (20 police line up)

Opponents of Cuadrilla’s operation at Preston New Road have complained about increasingly heavy-handed policing, raised police presence and a refusal of officers to facilitate slow-walking of lorries into the site.

On Wednesday, one protester, Netty, told Mr Grunshaw:

“I am absolutely, totally disgusted with the behaviour with the police on this site. And I think that something needs to be done about it. We have a right to peaceful protest, legal protest, under our human rights and we just need our slow walks facilitated and it needs to be done because what is happening here is just too dangerous.”

Another, Miranda Cox, said:

“I have seen the [police] tactics change and the presence grow. What I have witnessed, it frightens me.

“I am being hardened. I want to warn you that what is happening here is detrimental to the long-term future relationship between the people of Lancashire, the people of Fylde, and your police force because that trust is being eroded. I am of the generation that was told if you’ve got a problem, get a policeman.”

During his visit on Wednesday, Mr Grunshaw told protesters:

“[Fracking in Lancashire] is a political decision. It needs a political solution. That needs to be with the MPs. The protest should be down in Westminster, at the DCLG {Department of Communities and Local Government], at your MP’s surgeries, that’s where the protest should be. This is a political problem. The police are stuck in the middle.”

But protesters said they had exhausted all political options and blamed the police for making the protests more dangerous. They alleged officers were pushing protesters, dragging them along the tarmac, pulling hair and using the pressure point arrest technique, where extreme pain is inflicted for a short period.

Miranda Cox  said that earlier this week officers had promised a de-escalation of the policing at Preston New Road. But this had not happened. She told Mr Grunshaw:

“What I am witnessing on a daily basis is a ramping up and a pressure point being applied to this protest almost as if there’s a wider agenda going on.

“I’m thinking that maybe the agenda is around a bigger issue around protest in this country, about stifling people’s rights. I am very reluctant to think that Lancashire could be part of that, but what I am witnessing is leaving me in no doubt.”

She added:

“My fear is that the government will pay for the protest but put on extra demands: to get the protesters cleared.”

In response to Mr Grunshaw’s statement, she said:

“I think this statement does not address the way we are being policed. His statement is about resources. It’s a very valid question and one we are also concerned about. However, I’m really concerned that the police methods are still not being addressed.

Arrests

Police said three people were arrested at the Preston New Road protests on Wednesday 8 March. They included John Toothill, who lives nearby, who was charged with obstructing the highway. He was bailed to appear at Blackpool Magistrates Court on 3 April 2017.

A 26-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of an offence under Section 241 of the Trade Union Act and later released with no charge. A 29-year-old man of no fixed abode was arrested on suspicion of theft and possession of a Class A drug. He has been bailed to April 20.

On Thursday 9 March eight people aged between 23 and 67, were arrested and all charged with failing to comply with a police direction on prohibited assembly. They were bailed to appear at Blackpool Magistrates Court on 24 March, 3 April or 10 April.

Court challenge

Next week, Mr Javid’s approval of planning permission for Preston New Road will be challenged in the High Court in Manchester.

The residents’ campaign group, Preston New Road Action Group, and Gayzer Frackman are bringing statutory challenges against the Communities and Local Government Secretary.

The case begins at 9.30am on 15 March at the Family and Civil Justice Centre, Bridge Street, Manchester. It is expected to last three days. DrillOrDrop will be reporting from the whole hearing.

Updated 12/3/2017 to correct Sajid Javid’s job title

27 replies »

  1. Police behaviour is starting to show sign’s of them getting ready to behave as if they were facing miner’s once more.

    • Always educational to see the frack agents swing into the personal attack slot. Clearly Cuadrilla Ineos, Third Energy, et al have enough clout with the Private company sponsored and compromised Business Secretary Sajid Javid to get the police to act illegally using cage kettling actions, which is specifically recognised as a provocation to violence and is designed to appear as if it is violence by the protesters for the consumption of the fake news complicit media. In victimising the public, intimidation and commiting and provoking violence on camera that results in contravention of their charter and remit, both legally and publically.
      What is not widely understood by the public at large is that once a police officer steps outside of their legal limits of action, as detailed in the police statutes and contract, they are no longer protected by their official function, in effect they cease to act as a police officer and revert to a common law person in the eyes of the law. That means that any violence committed and provoked by the police becomes a common law matter and the public can make a citizens arrest for a perceived breach of the peace.
      That can be verified on line if you are interested.
      Just word of advice to new posters, if you don’t reply to personal attacks, the subject cant be high jacked into a personal abuse forum, just stick to what you are saying and take the subject further, ignore the personal attack diversions and keep on saying your subject opinion.
      You will see what happens when the industry agents read this.

      • Are you seriously advocating that the band of brothers resorts to a “citizen arrest” of a police officer?
        For any new protestors joining this site DO NOT attempt the above. There are lots of quirky laws but they aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. Why not try it out yourself just to test it though?

        • “Name: Alex, Richmond
          Qualification: Ex-policeman
          Answer: A person can arrest any other person committing what they call an arrestable offence. But only a police officer can arrest someone on reasonable suspicion of an arrestable offence. If he doesn’t see it, but thinks someone did it, then they can arrest them. If you see a police officer do something illegal, you can arrest them. But you’d be taking your life into your own hands as the chances are, the policeman would have a professional explanation for what happened”

          Possible and legal, but perhaps not advisable!

          • I agree, those witnessing the police, going over and above their legal responsibilities should provide unquestionable witness and video evidence only. A case of an officer at a protest site, going over and above his official duty, was videoed and resulted in that officer being reprimanded, and charges brought against him for misconduct.

    • I am afraid that the police have to meet force not like for like, but in pursuit of the law they have to be able to overwhelm law breakers.. The protestestors are not victims, they are law breakers and some of them come to these gatherings with the sole intent of breaking the law. The government have a duty to decide what is good for the country and that, where necessary, over-rides local objections. I imagine protestors at fracking sites would readily complain if somebody was damaging their garden or standing at their fence shouting at them. They would expect the law to take their side, because it is the law !So whyhy should the COUNTRY (remember it is not the government who pays it is the taxpayer) pay for people to break the law ? If anybody has to pay for policing it must be the organisers and if it is done in the name and the blessing of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, then they must foot the bil, if they will not pay then it must be recovered by fines upon the lawbreakers themselves l

  2. Anti Fracking protestors need to get a life! Or better still a JOB! 29 year old man, of NO FIXED ABODE arrested in possession of CLASS A drug..nothing more to add!!!

    • Fracking workers have “an insatiable appetite for raw sex and hard drugs”

      Yet another reason to hate fracking: It’s connected with an increase in STDs, car crashes, drug-related crimes, and sexual assault in areas where the oil and gas industry sets up shop. Or in Vice-speak, fracking workers have “an insatiable appetite for raw sex and hard drugs.” Writes Peter Rugh on Vice:

      Critics of fracking have compared it to raping the Earth, but where drilling has spread, literal rape has followed. Violence against woman in fracking boomtowns in North Dakota and Montana has increased so sharply that the Department of Justice (DoJ) announced in June that it plans to spend half a million dollars investigating the correlation…[T]he DoJ speculated that “oil industry camps may be impacting domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in the direct and surrounding communities in which they reside.”
      https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/fracking-the-earth-gave-me-gonorrhea

      You can “correlation doesn’t equal causation” all day, but Rugh is persuasive: Fracking workers are overworked, undertrained, and seven times more likely to die on the job than the rest of us. (On a rig, 12-hour shifts are the new normal.) So workers are under an unbelievable amount of stress — and it’s yielding antisocial results.

      But no matter how you slice it, the correlation between fracking towns and meth-fueled crime, auto accidents, rape, and gonorrhea is hella scary. The easy reaction is “Fracking suxx!” A more nuanced response might be, “Let’s get more clean energy jobs, training for those jobs, consent-based sex ed, oil spill condoms widely available contraception, drug treatment programs, and eight-hour shifts.”
      http://grist.org/living/fracking-linked-to-rape-meth-addiction-and-stds/

    • Pick on one person why don’t you, if you think that all protestors are drug takers, then you are sadly mis-informed, the majority are law abiding citizens, people who would normally not get involved, but feel so strongly against this that they feel that they have to. As a resident of Lancashire, living about 5 mins away from all this, I will do all I can to prevent this fracking industry. Perhaps when it lands on your doorstep, you might change your mind and protest too.

    • This old line about get a life and get a job, dates from an era when the Tories under Thatcher were pushing the old rhetoric that the poor were responsible for their own condition. These days technology robotics internet etc. has made manual input to Industry and Businesses and of course the workings of the Welfare State virtually redundant. The modern Global Economic Condition has made the Super Wealthy of the Planet even more Wealthy and polarized Society into ever increasing gap of rich and poor. Time for implementation of Universal Basic Income. And a bit more on topic a complete switch to Renewable Energy !!!

    • Did you not know they have lives and is what they are trying to protect, from the “Fracturing” of their homelands!!

  3. LCC “Gov should pay for Police as they approved fracking!” So he mean’s the UK worker’s who pay tax as opposed to the JOBLESS/NO FIXED ABODE protestor’s with nowt better to do than complain about fracking which they tell scaremongering lie’s about anyway!

    • Councillors are neither jobless or of no fixed abode, nor are any of the protesters and observers, perhaps the writer must provide proof of such shouted unfounded claims should be required? Dehumanisation and victimisation by government promoted industry ordered police only compromises civil freedom. These are the first steps to the destruction of democracy and the implementation of a police state and a fascist regime.
      The police should perhaps declare that the tax payer cannot afford to protect private companies from the consequences of their own actions and tell the industry they must employ their own security within their confines of their razor wire cages and allow the police to carry out their prime concern, which is keeping the peace and protecting legal public protest.

      • You are wrong. The protestors are impeding a ligit business and its worker to go on about their work. The aggression and impediment caused by the protesters on public road and land are illegal and it is the police role to resolve the matter so ligit business can continue to operate. The private security can’t handle and dont have the authority to clear trouble makers on public land. Therefore public nuisances such as these protesters are the responsibility of the police. The PC comment was right this is a political issues you can only win by political means. If I dont like a tax rise on my income it doesn’t mean I have the right to go and blockade and harass the tax office and its worker. There’s something childish about the way the anti fracking brigades put up their arguments.

  4. I can see why PhilC made his decision!

    Has there been a relaxation of the editing policy to accommodate some of the more extreme posters, who seem to suffer from insomnia-or, they are living in a different time zone?

    Not even much to get excited about. A PC trying to get an expansion to his budget-they do it all the time. Just a local version of the teachers, NHS, and (oh yes) the police, the week before this weeks budget.

  5. Educational isn’t it? All we have to remember is that all tax payers pay for the police and local police are budgeted by local council tax contributions, if you don’t want to be forced to pay for the enforced private security actions of your police force resulting from a centrally sanctioned invasion of our beautiful countryside by a private company, then write to Sajid Javid and request the activities of the police protecting government sanctioned activity must be centrally funded by the industry and back dated to the start of the public protest.
    Perhaps also start a freedom of information request to establish who ordered this police escalation and why. There is an interesting angle on this.
    I watched Promised Land recently not a film i had heard about before, it made an indication that the O&G industry leave nothing to chance and always ensure they own both sides of the argument as a matter of course, so perhaps understand the more wild of the protesting actions are probably deliberately promoted and provoked in order to discredit protest and allow for escalation in policing actions.
    Don’t ever underestimate the extent of the industry preparation for these actions.

  6. One day we might get back to discussing the topic, but that is not what the internet “fluffers” want. It’s a job that some seem to enjoy, and some make very good money from it, (can see the same on many sites discussing investments). My advice to new posters, is that if this is what you want to do, that is your choice, but it will be painfully obvious if you are not very good at it! Sensitivity is probably not a requirement either. Perhaps, as it is advice time, DYOR may be a more productive option. Looking at both sides of the argument is sound-try todays Times.

    As it is a sporting weekend, I recall that when my son (many years ago) played junior football, his club were responsible for the kids behaviour and any “supporters” who attended matches. If that was not controlled then sanctions would apply, and did. Blaming the referee, or the other team, usually meant you received an even bigger sanction! Kids were taught, actions have consequences. The referee was respected, only three things you should say on the field to the ref., “yes sir, no sir, sorry sir”. Different world now?

  7. The Leith Hill oil extraction planning appeal has been refused, looking at the you tube video of the tiny narrow rural access route along Coldharbour Lane, it is the most beautiful spot you could imagine with overhanging trees, sunken sections and fragile looking road surface. The site is a beautiful quiet forest and many trees would have to be destroyed to fit the site in. Totally unsuitable and part of a unique ancient protected area.

    http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/local-news/leith-hill-oil-drilling-appeal-4808389

    I’ll find the video link.

    • Video of car journey along Coldharbour Lane Leith Hill.
      There is another which shows the tiny junction in the town.

      You have to ask what level of insanity would even consider turning this into an industrial oil extraction plant?
      I ask again, why are the most treasured beauty sites in this country being targeted?
      No one in their right mind would approve this as a suitable site for industrialisation.

  8. Spinwatch highlights PSPO and Prevent and what exclusion zones mean to us all.
    If you wanted to impose police state rule on a population, and wanted to avoid any inconvenient levels of resistance, how would you go about it? Suddenly or gradually?

    It has long been apparent that the UK state has adopted the second softly-softly approach to lowering its frackboot onto the face of the public.

    But for all its efforts to hide what it’s up to, from time to time something is revealed that makes it all too obvious.

    This is very much the case with the recent revelations about the way environmentalism is being insidiously conflated with “terrorism” under the government’s Orwellian “Prevent” scheme.

    Bullying of the Muslim community under this flag has been ongoing for years, but has been swallowed by a general public constantly told that the Islamic religion represents a terrorist-inspiring threat.

    The targeting of anti-fracking campaigners comes without even that phoney level of manufactured “justification”.

    The Drill or Drop reported that Driffield School and Sixth Form in East Yorkshire had earlier this year unveiled a Prevent strategy which included this statement: “At present nationally, the greatest resource is devoted to preventing people from joining or supporting the so called Islamic State (IS) group, its affiliates and related groups. More locally, the East Riding’s main priorities are far right extremism, animal rights and anti-fracking.”

    prevent-1

    And research by Spinwatch has revealed this is not an isolated incident. Chesswood Junior School in Worthing, West Sussex implemented a similar policy to that of Driffield College until public reaction forced a retreat. The school’s July 2016 ‘Prevent Duty Policy’ originally suggested that ‘Environmental (Fracking)’ campaigners could present ‘safeguarding concerns’ for children.

    The school actually categorised environmentalist groups as “terrorist”, stating: “Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies associated with any terrorist groups e.g Far Right, Far Left, Environmental (Fracking), Animal rights, Nationalist (IRA), Al Qaeda”.

    prevent-2

    Elsewhere, City of York council working with the North Yorkshire police force have used the strategy to link anti-fracking activism with terrorism risks.

    Merseyside police force now includes ‘anti-fracking’ as a form of ‘domestic’ extremism in its latest Prevent presentation. The contentious presentation forms the basis of the Merseyside Police’s Special Branch programme of presentations to schools, governors, colleges and childcare providers.

    And in June 2016 Dorset County Council in partnership with Dorset Police updated the county’s ‘Prevent delivery plan’. The revision included a statement on ‘fracking’ in the ‘specific risk’ section of the plan.

    Meanwhile, the UK state is not only refusing to release details of its prevent programme but is also now interpreting requests for information as an attempt “by extremists to evade detection, thereby prejudicing national security”.

    This extraordinary attitude was voiced by the government’s Information Commissioner, in rejecting an appeal by police monitoring group Netpol over the refusal of the police to release details of a programme to “deradicalise extremists”.

    The Information Commissioner’s Office stated: “Prevent is a national counter-terrorism initiative that is only implemented in certain police forces across the country. The same FOI request made to multiple forces could therefore identify how Prevent resources are apportioned across the country.

    “Anti-fracking campaigns organise around designated locations across the country; confirmation of the existence of the requested information would facilitate the mapping of Prevent capabilities alongside anti-fracking campaigns and, when incorporated into a radicalisation strategy, could be used by extremists to evade detection, thereby prejudicing national security.”

    You don’t need to be a genius to see what is going on here. Fracking, like all the infrastructures of industrial capitalism, is close to the cold heart of a corrupt state which operates not in the interests of the people of the UK but of the financial interests that own and control it. Therefore anyone who opposes fracking in any (effective) way is a simply an enemy of this cabal and is labelled appropriately.

    This is happening all over the world. As American writer Rob los Ricos says in his excellent essay on Ultramodernism: “Interference with corporate activity has become legally defined as terrorism”.

    And the targeting of Muslims and anti-fracking protesters is only part of the wave of stealth fascism being introduced by a pompous and hypocritical UK state whose much-vaunted “democracy”, “freedom” and “civilized values” are transparently compromised.

    Take, for instance, the news that South Tyneside Council in north-eastern England wants to fine homeless people up to £100 for accepting food or drink from passers-by.

    The current weapons of choice for this kind of dictatorial institutional bullying are Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO). “Offences” do not even have to be proven in a court of law, but are punished with an on-the-spot fine merely on the say-so of some official.

    PSPOs continue the historic work of the Enclosures by turning what were once public spaces into “restricted areas” in which people’s rights are stolen from them in the interests of social cleansing and city centres are essentially turned into open air private shopping malls.

    As The Canary reports, the South Tyneside PSPO bans people from drinking alcohol in the designated area (unless they are paying over the odds in some rip-off town centre pub, of course!) and also from making “verbal, non-verbal or written requests… for money, donations, or goods”.

    PSPOs were introduced to the UK by the Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act of 2014 and have already been widely used to target the homeless.

    Sleeping in public is a criminal offence in certain areas of Shepway, while Rushcliffe Borough Council is currently consulting residents on the same ban. It’s a crime to spend the night in a vehicle or temporary structure in Worthing, and it’s similarly illegal to spend the night in the park in tents.

    PSPOS are also being used to insidiously restrict people’s fundamental freedoms in other ways, reinforcing a trend towards curfews and dispersal powers that Sussex Police, among others, were already trying to impose four years ago under previous legislation.

    This wider application of PSPOs has seen Kettering Borough Council introduce a curfew on under-18s, who must now be home by 11pm or risk receiving fines or a criminal record. Bassetlaw District Council has banned under-16s from gathering in groups of three or more if they’re “causing annoyance”, unless a responsible adult is present.

    Redbridge in London is proposing a PSPO stating that “No person within a group of two or more shall refuse to leave an area when required to do so by an authorised officer in order to prevent anti-social behaviour, public nuisance or disorder.”

    And the London Borough of Hillingdon has already criminalised the gathering of just two people – regardless of age – unless they’re waiting for the bus. As Rosie Brighouse of Liberty states: “This means it is now an offence in Hillingdon to meet up with anyone, whether you’re causing annoyance or not.”
    Extrapolate that to protest and you begin to see the underlying plan below the present move toward 10 minute protest restrictions and razor wire fenced off tiny protest areas.
    Perhaps PSPO’s are next, watch this space.
    Do you begin to see now? Or is it “Nothing to see here, move along please.”

    [Moderator: First word corrected at commenter’s request]

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