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Sussex Police fracking bill could top £3.7m
The cost of policing the protests at Balcombe has soared to £2.3m and is expected to rise to £3.7m when protesters eventually leave.
For the six days that No Dash for Gas occupied Cuadrilla’s exploratory drilling site, it cost Sussex Police £1.5m, including mutual aid from ten other forces.
Nearly 1,000 extra protesters arrived at the No Dash for Gas camp last weekend to take part in marches and a campaign of direct action between Thursday, August 15 and Wednesday, August 21.
During that time more than 30 protesters were arrested, including Green MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas and her son.
She was arrested on Monday along with 28 other demonstrators. A large number had to be removed from outside the entrance to the site.
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, said: “It is important that taxpayers are kept updated on the ongoing costs of this policing operation.
“The increased involvement of national protest groups has meant that Sussex Police has had to deploy significant additional resources, including mutual aid from other police forces and this has put a strain on the police budget.
“Sussex Police is policing what I believe is a national issue. What happens in Sussex may determine what will happen nationally across police force areas in the future.
“I have now spoken and written to the Policing Minister confirming that I will be applying to the Home Office for funding to meet the additional costs of this policing operation, once the final figures are known. We anticipate that the final cost of this operation will be approximately £3.7m.”
Since the protests began at the end of July, 80 people have been arrested.
Concerns have been raised about who will foot the bill for the policing costs, to which Katy Bourne added: “My Chief Finance Officer is already in discussion with the resourcing unit at the Home Office to determine what information they will need in order to facilitate our application.
“It is also my role as PCC to hold the Chief Constable to account on behalf of the public, so it is important that I address the issues and concerns raised by people during the policing of this protest.
“I will be holding an accountability meeting with the Chief Constable on Friday, September 6, which will be webcast live and will provide the public with an opportunity to have their questions answered.”
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