Officers from outside Lancashire to join policing of Cuadrilla’s fracking site

Preston New Road 170403 Cheryl Atkinson 2

Photo: Cheryl Atkinson

Policing of protests at Cuadrilla’s Lancashire shale gas site will use officers from other parts of the UK, as well as the local force, from next week.

More officers are likely to be on duty from Monday and policing at the site at Preston New Road Road near Blackpool will become 24-hours a day.

The news emerged in a message from the community organisation, Roseacre Awareness Group.

Its chairman, James Nisbet, said he’d been told about the policing changes in a phone call from Lancashire Constabulary yesterday evening.

Mr Nisbet said he’d been informed that that the so-called police mutual aid system would begin on Monday. This is where one force provides policing assistance to another. It is usually in response – or anticipation – of a major incident.

The system was used in 2013 in policing at protests outside Cuadrilla’s oil exploration site at Balcombe in West Sussex and outside the IGas site at Barton Moss in Salford (2013-2014). This would be the first time mutual aid had been used at Preston New Road.

Lancashire officers have been policing protests at Preston New Road on week days since Cuadrilla began work began at the site more than 26 weeks ago in January.

Mr Nisbet said he’d been told the changes would mean:

  • Increased police presence at the site each day
  • Police from other forces would be present, possibly in slightly different uniforms
  • Police presence at the site 24 hours a day.

Mr Nisbet said Lancashire Police had told him the new arrangements were being introduced because of the increased activity at the site following the Reclaim the Power Rolling Resistance protest, expected to continue throughout July. Mutual aid would also allow Lancashire police resources to be redeployed to other policing operations, the force told him.

Anti-fracking campaigners have described the changes as intimidatory. The Lancashire force has already been accused of disproportionate and aggressive tactics. DrillOrDrop report.

“Urgent review of protest policing guidelines”

News of the mutual aid arrangements coincided with a call by the Green Party MEP, Keith Taylor, for a review of policing guidelines for oil and gas protests following reports of violence at blockades in the past week.

A video (see below) showed a woman protester apparently being thrown to the ground by a police officer at a demonstration outside the supply depot of Marriott Drilling near Chesterfield in Derbyshire on 30 June. Lancashire Police confirmed they were investigating a complaint that a security guard assaulted a protester at Preston New Road. DrillOrDrop report

Mr Taylor said he had written to the National Police Chief Council asking for an update on protest policing guidelines. Link to letter

He said:

“The photos and videos coming out from the recent protests in Derbyshire and Lancashire are incredibly concerning. It’s shocking that apparently peaceful demonstrators have suffered such violence while exercising their democratic freedom to protest.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that political pressure is being brought to bear on police forces to act as the legal enforcers in a drilling debate the government is losing. The Government is in danger of allowing industry interests to undermine our fundamental freedoms.

“If local residents are beginning to question whether officers are working to protect them or just the interests of the oil and gas industry the notion of consent has broken down – and trust must be repaired.”

The Green Party peer, Baroness Jones, said she would be writing to Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner about concerns that the county’s force was not allowing people to protest at Preston New Road.

Baroness Jones tweet

Lancashire policing costs

In April, the Government refused a request by Mr Grunshaw for extra funds to police anti-fracking protests in Lancashire.

Mr Grunshaw warned the costs would be upwards of £450,000 per month. But the policing minister said there was “no central Government funding stream available to meet the policing costs incurred as a result of fracking”.

Clive Grunshaw Lancs pcc

Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner meeting anti-fracking campaigners at Preston New Road. Photo: Lancashire PCC

The minister added that Lancashire could apply for special grant funding only when costs reached more than 1% of the PCC’s budget. This would be after the force had spent at least £2.6m, expected to be incurred in just under six months at the estimated spending rate.

Lancashire will have to pay the costs of officers from other forces under mutual aid. National policing guidance suggested there would be funding available:

“Recent experience has shown there are circumstances where the provision of mutual aid exceeds the capacity of the host force to fund the associated costs. In these cases a bid may be made to the Home Office for a Special Police Grant, which would be considered by the Home Office and Ministers.”

117 replies »

  1. Oh dear Refracktion..John Law Hobson..Let us go back to the Balcombe protests! Many arrested…but just ONE from Balcombe! The others arrested came from all points N E S W of the UK ! Just came for a FREE HOLIDAY in The Sun with free food,drugs etc supplied! PNR is just another camp full of people out for a freebie from all over UK as arrests show!

    • Malc old thing – I hope your horse racing tips make more sense than your fracking comments 😂

  2. Here’s a little song to lighten your day, have a good one!
    With apologies to the estate of (Benny Hill)
    Benny Hill – 1971 hope those women have caught up with him by now!


    You could hear the boot beats pound as they marched across the ground,
    And the wirring of the alloys as they spun ’round and ’round.
    And he speeded into Downing Street, his badge upon his chest,
    His name was Bernie, and he drove the fastest police van in the west.

    Now Bernie loved a tory, a lady known as May,
    She lived all alone in Downing Street at number 10 they say!
    They said she was too good for him, she was haughty, proud and chic,
    But Bernie got his expenses there three times every week!

    They called him Bernie, (BErnieeeeeeeeeee)
    And he drove the fastest police van in the west.

    She said she’d like to bathe in oil, he said, “All right, sweetheart,”
    And when he’d finished work one night he loaded up his cart.
    He said, “D’you want it proppant squeezed? ‘Cause proppant squeezed is best,”
    She says, “Bernie, I’ll be happy if it comes up to my chest.”

    That tickled old Bernie, (BErnieeeeeeeeeee)
    And he drove the fastest police van in the west.

    Now Bernie had a rival, an evil-looking man,
    Called Two-Tonne Smeg from Smegginton and he drove the frackers van.
    He tempted her with his oily cash and untaxed holidays,
    and yachts upon the Med.
    And when she seen the size of his tax free bank accounts it very near turned her head.

    She nearly swooned at hydrocarbon booms and this is what he said, “If you treat me right,
    You’ll have a blue Rolls every morning and cocktails every night.”
    He knew once she sampled his hydrocarbon lake he’d have his wicked way,
    And all Bernie had to offer was a pint of beer a day.

    Poor Bernie, (BErnieeeeeeeeeee)
    And he drove the fastest police van in the west.

    One lunch time Smeg saw Bernie’s van outside her door,
    It drove him mad to find it was still there at half past four.
    And as he lept down from his van hot blood through his veins did course,
    And he went across to Ernie’s van and didn’t half kick its exhaust!

    Its name was Trigger! (Triggeeeeeer!)
    And it was the fastest police van in the west.

    Now Bernie rushed out into the street, his hard top in his hand,
    He said, “If you wanna carry May you’ll fight for her like a man.”
    “Oh why don’t we play cards for her?” he sneeringly replied,
    “And just to make it interesting we’ll have a billion on the side.”

    Now Bernie dragged him from his van and beneath the blazing sun,
    They stood there face to face, and Smeg went for his perforation gun.
    But Bernie was too quick, things didn’t go the way Smeg planned,
    And a strawberry-coloured expense form sent it spinning from his hand.

    Now May ran between them and tried to keep them apart,
    And Bernie, he pushed her aside and a cement bond plug caught him underneath his heart.
    And he looked up in pained surprise and the concrete hardened crust,
    Of a shale fracked core caught him in the eye and Bernie bit the dust.

    Poor Bernie, (BErnieeeeeeeeeee)
    And he drove the fastest police van in the west.

    Bernie was only 52, he didn’t wanna die,
    And now he’s gone to make his rounds in that patrol beat in the sky.
    Where the protesters are angels and ferocious fracks are banned,
    And the policemans life is full of fun in that fair and peaceful land.

    But a woman’s needs are many fold and soon she fell for Smeg,
    But strange things happened on their fracking night as they lay in their bed.
    Was that the trees a-rustling? Or the hinges of the gate?
    Or Bernies ghostly hard top a-rattling in its crate?

    They won’t forget Bernie, (BErnieeeeeeeeee)
    And he drove the police van cart in the west

  3. refracktion-you really do have a problem with understanding everyday English. I suggest you address your problem, and stop trying to score points off it,(own goals in football “speak”.) It really is schoolyard behaviour.
    As I stated, quite clearly, the police will be gathering intelligence on what activity they expect to deal with. They will be expected to be ahead of the curve, and this is what they are doing. If you are trying to establish that the activities of the protestors has not changed in recent weeks, and the “rhetoric” is not reflective of that, then all you do is show an unwillingness to deal with reality. It could just be that the police see a need to take action to prevent more extreme behaviour (whatever that might be.) After all, crime prevention is just about the most important function for the police, and not environmental monitoring, as suggested.

    • Martin – you can try to conflate Hamburg and the peaceful protests at PNR as much as you like, but you just show the inadequacy of your own comprehension of events.

      Of course the police are collating intelligence – they have been doing that since day 1 – it’s part of their job. However you have provided precisely NO evidence to support your thesis that protester’s behaviour is going to become “extreme” as you put it. None. Zilch. Nada.

      The protests have indeed gathered pace since the start of this month, but they have not (from what I have seen) become any more “extreme”. The increase in activity and it’s ingenuity must be very frustrating for the few supporters of fracking round here and for Cuadrilla etc, but it’s not going away. If more sites come on stream this looks like it is going to be the most expensive policing operation ever, so our Police had better work out a more effective strategy than they have right now. And that strategy can’t simply be to become ever more heavy-handed (or “extreme” in your terms, Martin) in their approach to protesters.

      Now, maybe if you tried arguing logically instead of doing what you accuse everyone else of (namely scoring points) we could all get on with discussing things in a more productive way?

      • Refracktion says: “However you have provided precisely NO evidence to support your thesis that protester’s behaviour is going to become “extreme” as you put it. None. Zilch. Nada.”

        What are you saying, man? The protestors are being arrested day after day. We see them using foul language and harassing the police all the time. This is absolutely extreme in most peoples’ book. You go on and use your pretzel logic to defend it, but just understand that everyone sees right through your smokescreens.

        • Nope [edited by moderator] – still no evidence of Martin’s so-called extremism – if swearing is now t be conflated with extremism by the pro-frackers half the country must be extremists LOL

          • Sure, swearing at police officers who are trying to do their jobs is extreme. So is locking on and breaking the law. So is threatening workers. But I guess [edited by moderator], the “extreme” bar is pretty high, huh? ;o)

            • Extreme? No locking on is non-violent direct action Fibby old thing. Straneg;y you don’t seem to have any issues with violence from the police and security guards. How very unexpected!

              Extremism has some rather different manifestations and results as we have sadly seen too often in recent months.

              [Edited by moderator]

              • I don’t believe that violence is a prerequisite to extremism, Refracktion. Society agrees with my point of view, as all can see. There was a reason that police identified anti-frackers as potential terrorists and extremists. They are not law abiding citizens, they feel that society should bend to their moral agenda and that the rules do not apply to them.
                They threaten, bully, intimidate, and destroy property. Yes, these actions surely reflect a form of extremism.

                There is a reason they are being arrested and found guilty of committing crimes.

              • Well, society and I disagree with you, Refracktion. That will have to do for now.

                As for systemic, this term was used by the EPA. Of course you would chafe at use of the term because it demands that your lot prove impacts are not one-off, isolated events, but rather endemic to the act of fracking broadly. The fact that no systemic impacts to human health have been detected after 60-plus years really bothers you.

                BTW, how are you coming with your energy plan, Refracktion? Did you see where South Australia now claims the prize for highest energy prices in the world thanks to your “inexpensive” renewable sources? They stole the title from Denmark who had also vigorously embraced wind power. Don’t worry, Germany and the UK are not far behind! Bad news, however, for those who are least able to defend themselves against hair-brained Green schemes, and who now live in fuel poverty as a result.

            • Fibs you don’t have a handle on the facts. Can’t take an eye off you for two seconds… so much misrepresentation !
              “Despite the fact we hear it over and over in anti-renewable arguments, the belief that South Australia has the highest household electricity costs in the country is simply not true. The state with the highest residential cost of electricity is Victoria, which has the most carbon intensive grid in the country, and until just recently, possibly the world”

              • A very deceptive argument that your solar friend makes, Philip. You can detect his bias and his deception in numerous places in the paper, but this one I found particularly galling: “The United States has similar levels of grid reliability as Australia”

                Yeah, right. And you wonder why this guy writes for “Solar Quotes Blog” rather than an established paper!

                First of all, his review of prices is retrospective. The news about South Australian electricity prices being the most expensive in the world is prospective. Second, your solar pumping friend’s calculations are based on energy usage. The claim that he is attacking is not about usage, it is about rate or price. Because SA has relatively small electricity usage it may not have the highest overall consumer bills, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t own the highest electricity costs.

                One thing he doesn’t mention in his report but which he probably should is the fact that renewables are not completely at fault for the messy energy situation across Australia. The nation is experiencing a shortage of gas supply due to the fact that they have restricted exploration and production and at the same time have ramped LNG shipments. This is compounding problems driven by aggressive renewable deployment in some areas of the country. Thus the anti-frackers have hurt the Australian economy in two ways – restricting dependable energy sources while expanding intermittent ones. What a lovely outcome!

              • I love it how I knock down every argument you make and all you can do is come back with ridiculous propaganda. You still can’t answer my questions, but that’s no surprise, is it? LOL

            • Silly non argument – to simply classify any observations that don’t support your views as propaganda. Lazy and transparent. Is that the best you can do? Lol at you.

  4. Jolly good, 24hr policing will mean no more sneaky midnight lock-ons or lock-ins or whatever they call them. [Edited by moderator] Main thing is this site is about to carry out it’s long awaited test drill, hooray.

        • John, us pro-frackers fully understand the mentality of people like yourself also. At least I am prepared to not call for someone to be “Deleted” as I don’t agree with them! [Edited by moderator]
          I suggest if you find the tone of the silent majority, which I represent, upsetting then you merely gloss my posts over. [Edited by moderator] Why not concentrate on another subject, for example I would agree with your lot on stopping Hinkley and I actually think that is a project that could be reversed.

          • Now now Peeny – don’t have a sense of humour failure.

            You don’t represent any silent majority although you do seem to have enough IDs to make up a vocal minority

            I’m quite chilled thanks – all the more so when I see all you lot frothing at the mouth at the very costly delays.

            At this rate Corbyn will be PM and fracking will be banned before Cuadrilla get a well completed at PNR 🙂

  5. I suspect the police are just over reacting then? It seems the boundaries of what is extreme can easily be moved when it suits, and desperation sets in. Organisations that were frowned upon by the antis themselves are now welcomed with open arms, but perhaps not by the police.

    Par for the course (golf this time!), after FOE debacle when they were caught bang to rights, but were promoted as the innocent party. Courts that have ruled against the antis, all part of an establishment conspiracy.

    Must all be aimed at moving public opinion. (That was a joke just to help those who have a problem with English.)

    Not sure if the fracked gas ship from USA has arrived yet, but wifey has the roast going. I will get the jaws around some nicely cooked meat (by gas) – from the aroma it is indeed pork, so frackling is on the menu- and contemplate that this is indeed a “taste” of things to come. But cheaper, with a lower carbon footprint and some income into the taxation system.

  6. I wonder what the poor agent from the ministry of truth makes of all this – there’s probably at least one poor soul who has to keep a watching brief on these threads. Great cast of characters though, from lonely millionaire/billionaire-wannabes through industry die-hards (real men who sprinkle glyphosates on their breakfast cereal and go fishing with sticks of dynamite, or would if it wasn’t against the law), to genuine job-seekers, to home-owning mums and dads with justifiable concerns about property values, health impacts and water being more important than gas, to environmental activists and young people who know we haven’t got a planet B. Then of course there’s the farmers who’ll sell their souls, sorry, license a portion of their property for the pad-sites and will be able to pay off their mortgages, retire early (living somewhere else of course) and send their sons and daughters to university without needing student loans.

    What could go wrong? Many moons ago I predicted that Brexit would grind the current PM down and then this sort of thing could explode in everyone’s faces. The claims and counter-claims are intense (both sides cannot be right) leading to a more polarised society and now with emerging images of police being used as a instrument of state control, for a programme that has not been fully and honestly explored in the public domain – ugly.

    • Philip – I think Gottabfibby would say it’s not ugly but very pretty – That’s his kind of society it seem

      • Simply intended to distinguish those who want to see the industry take off because that’s their background and maybe they maintain interest or have shares in their old company, or they have mates or family members still involved, from those who have some relevant skills and need the work.

  7. Ah refracktion so you like to believe in conspiracy theories as well! You couldn’t be anymore of a stereotype if you tried! Actually John I do represent the silent majority hence why everything you vote for you will always be on the losing side, I bets you voted to Remain and for Corbyn. Must suck to be a loser John?

    • How can you possibly know what a silent majority think Peeny? You are a silly old dear.

      As to my voting, right and wrong, but you will soon know all about backing a loser Peeny – what are Corbyn’s approval ratings this week? 😉

  8. [Edited by moderator] Asides from the super wealthy everyone is born with an equal start in life. To make money in this world Philip you need guts, determination, intellect, and some luck thrown in there. Unlilke people like Philip I congratulate anyone of making a success of themselves whether that is through their bank balance or doing something meaningful with their life, I sure as heck don’t demonize anyone.
    And give it a rest with the ‘poor us’ attitude, get some backbone.

    • What ‘poor us’ attitude?

      All in your imagination GBH … I don’t believe in your black and white (left v Right) shtick, sorry. I see it kind of works for your beliefs but you have to keep lashing out in case some of your imagined foes might overthrow the world as you’ve ordered it. The fear signs are most evident – my sympathies.

      I don’t believe knowledge has to be used so politically, abusively or chauvinistically. Didn’t you know? There are better ways of being human.

        • Sometimes people buy into the same doctrines and their language is virtually identical (as in a cult). For more than one person to say ‘there had never been any health or environmental impacts caused by fracking’ (which I know to be a bare-faced lie) they have to be following a dogma. Same amongst the climate change deniers. You get to see all the patterns and evasions eventually but I try to assume nothing about the personalities (except in a fun role-play sort of way) even if they come across as identical.

  9. [Edited by moderator] Actually, I enjoyed a lovely meal, all my own vegetables plus British pork, and even British salt. British pork because I know about the subject, and British pork has better welfare standards than other sources from outside the UK. Now, you can Giggle away and find some welfare horror stories for pigs produced in the UK, and many more elsewhere, decide you are an “expert” and then spend your time protesting that we should all stop eating pork, or you can really find out about the subject, and decide if you are going to eat pork it should be British, but the lorry taking it to the supermarket could still have had dirty wheels. There is a parallel here which is easy to see, but I had better spell it to the Shiraz with pork crew.

    When I cook that nice, high welfare British pork I would like to be able, whilst I am cooking with gas, to cook it with good, secure British gas. For many reasons, which can not all be replicated from other sources. Yes, Norwegian gas gets closest but does it produce any revenue to the UK? Very little compared to what the equivalent within the UK would. And in two years time, what will be the tariff situation with Norwegian gas? Unknown-exactly. And, we are going to store it, where?
    I think you will find Norwegian gas (and oil) has made Norway a very wealthy country. We obviously view that lesson from very different perspectives. I can also see why you are in disagreement with Jim Ratcliffe.

    • “Yes, Norwegian gas gets closest but does it produce any revenue to the UK? Very little compared to what the equivalent within the UK would” – well if by revenue you mean tax revenue then it’s probably going to be about the same.

      [Edited by moderator]

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