policing

Home Office gives Lancashire 20% of costs of policing anti-fracking protests

pnr policing 170720 DoD

Policing at Preston New Road. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has called on the Government to reconsider its decision to contribute only 20% of the cost so far in policing anti-fracking protests outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site near Blackpool.

Clive Grunshaw had asked for the full amount, estimated to be nearly £7m by the end of this month (March 2018).

But this week, the policing minister, Nick Hurd, said the Home Office would contribute £1.4m.

Mr Grunshaw said Lancashire had been “short-changed” and described the decision as a “bitter blow”. His office said he wrote to Mr Hurd yesterday to ask him to reconsider.

Clive Grunshaw Lancs pcc

PCC Clive Grunshaw meeting campaigners at Preston New Road. Photo: Office of the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner

In a statement Mr Grunshaw said:

“This is a bitter blow for Lancashire and I have already written back to Nick Hurd urging him to reconsider and to Lancashire MPs to lend their support.

“The decision to frack in our county overturned that made by Lancashire County Council. The expectation on Lancashire Constabulary to cover the costs of a decision borne in Whitehall is not a fair deal.

“This is a resource demand which is not likely to leave Lancashire any time soon. Protests are still ongoing and are expected to escalate as we enter spring and summer and officers on the ground continue to do a very difficult job under intense pressure and scrutiny.

“This is also not just an issue for Blackpool and the Fylde; officers from across Lancashire continue to undertake shifts at the site, and this is not how the public of Lancashire expect their police budget to be spent so I will continue to fight this”.

The Home Office told DrillOrDrop today:

“We have provided the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner with up to £1.4million of funding in accordance with published special grant guidance.”

A spokesperson for the Lancashire PCC said:

“The decision to overturn the refusal of planning permission by Lancashire County Council was made by national government. They should have been aware this would be very contentious and would attract local and national protest. It was also known that the location of the site, next to an arterial route meant that protests had to be policed to keep the road open.

“This was a decision that they knew would have big implications for policing. We know that people are protesting from the local area and from outside. It is not fair that it is left to local residents to foot the bill. It is a national government decision and we’ve said that we believe that national government should pay for it.”

DrillOrDrop understands that Lancashire MPs have also submitted a cross—party letter in support of the PCC request.

£6.56m policing bill

L Policing costs 2017 to 2018

Preston New Road policing costs in £. Source: Lancashire Constabulary

Figures from Lancashire Constabulary put the cost of policing from January 2017 to the end of February 2018 at £6,560,000. That includes £2,962,000 in officer overtime and more than £700,000 in funding support from other forces.

L policing type costs 2017 to 2018

Preston New Road policing costs in £. Source: Lancashire Constabulary

In the same period, there were 337 arrests, almost two-thirds of which were from May-August 2017.

L arrests and charges jan 2017 to feb 2018

Source: Lancashire Constabulary

L arrests jan 2017 to feb 2018

Source: Lancashire Constabulary

Officers on duty

In response to a Freedom of Information request by DrillOrDrop, Lancashire Constabulary said the average number of officers deployed each day at the Preston New Road operation in 2017 was 35.

A report to Lancashire’s Police and Crime Panel meeting in December 2017 said the policing operation had a daily public order capability of 50-75 officers. These officers are supported by investigative, intelligence, logistics, communication, reassurance and professional standards capability. The report said the total size of the operation ranged from 75-100 officers per day.

The report said:

“Maintaining an operation of this scale has presented the force with significant resourcing and financial issues.”

The original plan, according to the report, had been to resource the operation entirely with Lancashire officers, using a combination of officers taken off normal duties and paid overtime on officer’s rest days.

The report said:

“By July [2017] it became evident that Lancashire Constabulary could not operationally sustain this level of daily abstraction. The impact of keeping an operation of this scale staffed entirely with Lancashire officers is a significant strain on the available policing resources to provide ‘business as usual’ policing in Lancashire.”

The force used officers from other forces in the third quarter of 2017 (known as mutual aid), at a cost of £714,000. The response to our FOI request said the number of officers on duty at Preston New Road were divided two-thirds from Lancashire and one-third from other forces.

Permanent command structure

At the March 2018 meeting, the Police and Crime Panel was told the force had established a permanent command structure for the anti-fracking policing operation. This will run for the period 1 March-31 December 2018 and would be supplemented, a report said, by public order officers working on rest day to meet the predicted demand.

The March panel meeting heard that Cuadrilla’s operation at Preston New Road was likely to continue until at least early 2019. The force expected protesters to try to stop fracking at the site using direct action, peaceful protest and mass civil disobedience.

Panel members were told that significant protests by local and national groups were expected. Peak actions were likely at the removal of the drilling rig, arrival of the fracking rig, removal of waste water and construction of the gas pipeline.

Complaints

The Police and Crime Panel has also received figures on complaints about the policing operation. According to police data, there were 145 complaints for the period from February-October 2017.

The most numerous reasons for complaints were: “other assault” (48); “incivility, impoliteness and intolerance” (21); “other neglect of failure in duty” (11); and “operational policing policies” (10).

27 replies »

  1. The Government should pay all costs as they are the ones delaying us getting on with it. May will be replaced by someone that is pro business and less influenced by the barmy army. The UK lags the US by about 10yrs in nearly everything…. See where I’m going!

    • According to GottaBKidding fracking is pro business. That’s a rather strange way of looking at the inevitable destruction of farmland and the jobs that go with that loss. The destruction of the tourist industry with all of the ancillary job loses as a result of that. I would love for the US to leave us well behind on the fracking front. They will have to deal with the harm that they have caused to their country. We are a smaller country and much denser populated and so can’t afford to follow their lead.

      • I’d use your beloved Google to check how much of our land has been developed on! Also quit with the boring nonsense of fracking killing off tourism.

          • Let the towel slip there didn’t he 🙂 … will it be back to the ‘your sad damp little island’ accusations next – back to the hballpeeny days.

      • Well spotted Sherwulfe!

        Perhaps the nearest demographic location to “Bonnie Scotland” is:
        Nova Scotia?
        Or
        Nouvelle-Écosse (French)
        Alba Nuadh (Scottish Gaelic)?

        Too many multiple ID’s must get confusing?

        Not really news, but fun anyway?

        I met a couple who had travelled across Canada in December and became stranded in a Canadian fracking town in 40 below temperatures.
        They both could smell the strong hydrocarbon and rotten egg stink in the air and became quite unwell with violent headaches and sickness, while they were waiting for their RV to be repaired?
        The headaches and sickness faded after they left the area, but talking to them since they both still suffer health problems and are prone to nosebleeds and rashes.
        They both are well travelled and this was the first time either of them had suffered such effects.
        As with all these reported effects of exposure to fracking, it is difficult to pin down precisely, which is why the industry gets away with the blame so often, particularly when medical facilities are economically discouraged to make the link.
        But both feel that those symptoms only began when they were both closely exposed to the local operation of fracking, and not before that, and though some effects remain, not since.
        One can only surmise what long term exposure would result in?

    • There’s a very simple and easy way out of this pickle. Hold people accountable for their actions. If the demonstrators are peaceful and do not infringe on the rights of others, the costs to police them are de minimis. They should not be charged. The protesters who break laws and who violate others’ rights should be forced to carry the burden of policing as it is their actions which necessitate the extra man hours. Load the violators up with penalties and make them pay for their actions. Maybe they can attract enough Gofundme money to pay, maybe not. Either way, it will have the effect of altering behavior to take into account the real life consequences of ones’ actions.

    • The government doesn’t have any money of it’s own, only our taxed money.

      So it’s our money they are spending 20% on policing which targets the public and ignores the criminality of the corporations, its just indirectly, rather than directly via the council tax.

      It’s all smoke and mirrors.

      There is only one payer here, and it is not the corporations, it is us.

      It’s a police tax, and we are the target

  2. The police are there and their actions were neccessary only because of unlawful activities by the protesters and activists. If they protest peacefully then there is no need for the police intervention. So the cost is contributed by the unlawful protests and not the government.

    • Entirely avoiding the point as usual. It is the operators who should pay for our high jacked privatised police force.

      Protest is lawful, it is enshrined in common law, it is theft of human rights and failure to comply with regulations, such as they are, and planning conditions, such as they are, and PEDL conditions, such as they are, that appear to have no penalties whatsoever and are as such totally ineffective and irrelevant.

      As long as the police continue to turn their backs on corporate fraud and non compliance with contracts and to bully and victimise protesters and the public in general, they will be considered nothing more than willing biased partial privatised corporate security paid for by the very same tax payer that pays their salaries and expenses….us.

      When the operators fund such willing biased partial privatised corporate security, they can call the shots, but until then the exclusive policing of private corporate interests will be considered to be high jacked by the corporations and as a result, totally biased and unfit for public service.

      • I agree PhilC.
        I would question the need for an ‘average’ 35 officers a day; except for planned large events; these numbers are not necessary; particularly as many are paid overtime rates. It would be better for the Lancashire Police to review this. After all, do the the police stand outside each shop in Blackpool and Preston in case someone steals something? Do they walk or drive up and down your road in case there is a burglary? No, they wait for you to call them when someone has actually broken a criminal law. This should be the case at PNR, with one or two officers available to protect the peaceful protesters, after all it’s they who are paying the taxes, not Cuadrilla.

        I hope that Mr Grunshaw is now very clear that he has been ‘shafted’ by the current governance; that’s on top of the cuts made over the last eight years resulting in officer redundancies….

        • Yes, Sherwulfe, the number of police officers to “police” protest has always been far in excess and massively over aggressive to what may be required at any one time, as you say a whole “force” of police, to coin a plurality word, is not used elsewhere, but perhaps historically at union rallies and events going back to the anti union events.

          It is interesting that the Trades Union Act has been used to enforce intimidation in anti fracking protests, the Trades Union Act is entirely inappropriate for such a purpose and displays a certain desperation in the light of modern international human rights agreements. it is interesting how little outrage has been expressed over the brazen contravention of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in UK by any politician?

          i suspect Mr Grundshaw is very much over a barrel and is too busy trying to preserve his funding and position to worry about how he is, as a result, being criminally misused and compromised.

    • At the sacrifice of our entire democratic rights just in order to prop up private corporations profits?

      No.

      Not even close. Let the corporations, not the tax payer pay for the police.

      And no, offshore tax haven based corporations are not UK tax payers.

  3. This sends a clear signal to the police that central government is backing away from this. Previously the police have been told it would all be covered so they have been anything but stingy with resources. We can see from the overtime costs, they have been using this operation to top-up police pay which internally is always popular with the force. (The basic isn’t great, overtime is where you make it and doing this type of work whilst quite dull, is quite easy, there is a lot of standing about and drinking coffee, its much easier than a town centre Saturday night patrol) With only 20% funding, the local force cant afford to put anywhere close to this number of boots on the ground. A small victory for the protestors, swinging the pendulum back towards neutral policing territory rather than firmly to facilitate frackers. The divergence of the police numbers counted on site by the protesters, to the ones listed in the report suggests to me a high number of plain clothes officers and surveillance officers being used out of obvious sight.

  4. It’s Easter! Follow the leading of the Pope-stop being “whiney and angry”.

    Add some yoga, and/or chocolate. If you really were winning, you should be happy, rather than giving away your own insecurities-to the two thirds. Very revealing.

    • Just supporting the 84%; chocolate is NOT good for you – it’s another myth!
      Have a lovely Easter Everyone 🙂

      • Well well, how interesting? While the anti anti’s reach for their “happy fracky” ever more cumbersome and controversially exclusive combined blinkers and verbal tambourines.

        Stepping carefully to avoid the still screaming and writhing nailed to a cross remains of the health and human rights of every man woman and child in the country.

        And then jump joyfully on to their own poisonous and polluting version of the tragic roundabout.

        In order to once more rape and pillage the planets resources for profit? And then gamble over the proceeds?

        They sit there and pontificate, I use the word literally, about anyone who dares to oppose such desecration as “whining and angry”?

        You ain’t even close baby.

  5. Daily intimidation of peaceful protectors costs a lot of money in salaries. But protectors are more determined than ever. We will not let fracking continue as a Ponzi scheme with our health sacrificed. Some gullible investors need to wake up and get out of shale: its going nowhere! Solar is doing rather well at the moment, as is wind energy. Battery technology is taking off. Plenty of other more sustainable places to put your money. Invest in the present and future, not a failing past. Fossil fuels have had their day.

    • The Blue Boy is still spouting his bu%%$£it….
      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/29/david-cameron-laments-painfully-slow-fracking-progress-in-uk

      ‘But not a single well has been fracked in the UK since 2011, as companies have faced tougher planning rules, protests and planning delays. Cameron said he had found progress “painfully slow and incredibly frustrating”. -shame

      ‘Environmental campaigners were partly to blame for the failure of the industry to get off the ground, he said’…..good going all; he forgot to add no money, environmental disaster, not needed….

      and for MC
      ‘Polls have consistently shown the public overwhelmingly oppose the controversial technique for extracting gas’……

      don’t you just love it :).

    • Well it’s Easter Sunday folks, and perhaps many of us think about the fragility of life in this insane present day.
      This is a poem that sprang out of somewhere deep in my thoughts.
      Thought you might appreciate it anyway:

      Called April May

      April May be full of war
      April May see many more
      But people see the lies and hate
      For what they are
      The lust for greed and power to satiate
      Their aching emptiness of souls unfulfilled
      Can only be fuelled by numbers killed
      And so it is with fracking too
      That it’s lack of love for me and you
      Down the depths to frack and profit
      It’s you and me that suffer from it
      They squat there in their ivory towers
      Moving chess pieces for their powers
      While lives and rights of man are sacrificed
      On alters cracked our throats are sliced
      The minds of hate they fade to black
      That war on life and resources frack
      It’s not power we need, it’s love we lack
      If they will not give it then we will take it back
      This governments insanity we will sack
      Because it’s peace we need
      To renew the world
      For energy the sun light will be unfurled
      When fracking causes death and strife
      War is but an empty threat to life
      But Wars will end and lies revealed
      The earth we will clean and life be healed
      To this end we say it loud
      To speak the truth
      We should be proud
      To give respect to this beautiful place
      Where life is strong and if allowed
      It’s beauty will penetrate
      Our hardest shell
      Our deepest hate
      Our ignorance bliss
      It’s truth and life that we miss
      So then turn around
      And face the sun
      And turn our backs on drill and gun
      To life not death we must proceed
      It’s love and hope and life we need
      Do it now
      Do not turn back
      The futures bright
      Only shadows are black
      So to you and me
      I say it clear
      Seek life and love
      Not hate and fear
      We’ve not much time
      So make it now and here
      We will gift our children our love so dear
      They’ll find the futures bright and clear
      And forget this madness
      That cost us so dear
      That is how it will be so
      The earth will shine
      And not from nuclear glow.

      Have a great Easter Sunday with family and friends.

      • Oh yes, and before you all leap to your keyboards.
        April May fool you, but not me.
        Are we having fun yet?
        See you all on the dark side of the sun

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