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Sussex Police scales down its operation at Balcombe as protesters leave
8:00am Thursday 22nd August 2013 in News
Sussex Police has said it's scaling down its operation at the anti-fracking protest site in Balcombe after many protesters left the area yesterday.
The force said while the overall policing approach had remained the same over the last four weeks, the number of officers deployed and the tactics used changes dynamically based on how many people are there and what kind of activity is taking place.
Superintendent Lawrence Hobbs said: "We have known this would be a long-running policing operation and, while we are scaling down tonight, we still expect to need a presence at the site for a number of weeks.
"At a time when the Force is already busy with planned annual events such as Pride and Airbourne, and when most people with children traditionally take holidays, the Balcombe policing operation has had even more impact.
"Many officers and staff have worked longer shifts or had cancelled days off and we have called on mutual aid from colleagues elsewhere in the UK.
"Using these additional resources and extending working days are not steps we take likely, due to the crucial consideration of costs but also a proper concern for our officers and staff.
"However, it is right and necessary to do these things to ensure we properly police such a large event while maintaining essential policing across the rest of Sussex during such a demanding time of the year."
Superintendent Hobbs said the operation in Balcombe was not over, however, but the force's approach was "working" and that the Reclaim The Power Camp and the "vast majority" of attendees had left by midday yesterday.
Police used powers under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act to remove people from the smaller plantation camp to the north of the site.
Around 20 people were served notice and evicted, with others leaving before being asked.
The camp was clear by 1:30pm.
Sussex Police said the powers were used proportionately due to criminality taking place there, as this is the camp where fireworks and drugs were seized yesterday and where the landowner reported being threatened when asking the campers to leave voluntarily.
There was one arrest yesterday - a 38-year-old man who did not give his address, on suspicion of theft of part of a police uniform, which he was seen wearing. He is currently in custody.
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