The ArgusSussex Police applies to Home Office to recover £4m cost of Balcombe anti-fracking protests (From The Argus)

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Sussex Police applies to Home Office to recover £4m cost of Balcombe anti-fracking protests

The Argus: The drill at Balcombe The drill at Balcombe

The policing operation of the anti-fracking protests in West Sussex last summer cost taxpayers £3.985 million.

Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne said the bill placed pressure on the police budget when savings were having to be made.

As she revealed the final sum for the policing operation, Ms Bourne said she has submitted an application to the Home Office to recover the cost.

Anti-fracking activists staged a lengthy protest last summer outside energy firm Cuadrilla's exploratory drilling operation in Balcombe.

Although Cuadrilla did not conduct fracking there, and would need to apply for permission, protesters feared the energy company would go on to do so.

Figures revealed that more than £1.6 million of the policing bill went on mutual aid costs, while accommodation, subsistence and vehicle costs totalled £259,517.

Supplies and services cost £43,507, ordinary officer police overtime stood at £335,519, rest day working at £830,137 and "consequential divisional overtime" at £209,139.

Ms Bourne's office also disclosed that normal police salaries for officers working on the operation totalled £621,860.

She said: "I firmly believe that local taxpayers have a right to know the final cost of this policing operation and it has been a detailed financial process to collate the costs incurred accurately.

"The additional, unforeseen cost of policing this operation has put pressure on the police budget at a time when considerable savings are being delivered in Sussex.

"Last summer Sussex Police were required to provide a policing response to a national issue, which is at the forefront of the Government's energy security policy.

"What happened here in Sussex may determine what will play out across police force areas in the future.

"It is unfair to burden local taxpayers with this significant sum of money and that is why I have applied to the Home Office for funding to meet the cost of the policing operation.

"I look forward to receiving their response in due course."

At the height of the protests, during the Reclaim the Power camp - organised by No Dash For Gas, more than 30 people were arrested, including Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves high pressure liquid being pumped deep underground to split shale rock and release oil or gas supplies.

Opponents of fracking have highlighted concerns about potential water contamination and environmental damage, as well as small-scale earthquakes.

But not everyone in Balcombe has been happy with the village being the national focus of anti-fracking protests.

Sixty villagers last summer put their name to a letter saying that despite the "relentless propaganda", exploratory drilling or properly-regulated exploitation will not "unduly damage" the environment.

They criticised the disruption to the exploratory oil drilling operation. Balcombe continues to be a magnet for anti-fracking protests.

On Sunday, more than 400 protesters gathered at a rally attended by French MEP Jose Bove, a key campaigner from the French anti-fracking lobby.

Comments (5)

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6:19pm Tue 21 Jan 14

Ambo Guy says...

Do the Fracking protester morons care? Do they f***.

I'm sure if they were tax payers themselves they might care a bit more but what's it to them if the long suffering tax payers have to foot the bill for their pathetic behaviour.
Do the Fracking protester morons care? Do they f***. I'm sure if they were tax payers themselves they might care a bit more but what's it to them if the long suffering tax payers have to foot the bill for their pathetic behaviour. Ambo Guy
  • Score: 1

10:47pm Tue 21 Jan 14

whatone says...

Ambo Guy wrote:
Do the Fracking protester morons care? Do they f***.

I'm sure if they were tax payers themselves they might care a bit more but what's it to them if the long suffering tax payers have to foot the bill for their pathetic behaviour.
That's a rather embittered comment.

Whether you like it or not, everyone pays taxes. It may not be in the simplistic way you think about it, but everyone is a consumer and pays for the privilige.

If it's income tax you are talking about, then I guess in your 'logical world' you must have been paying tax whilst you were in nappies and will still be doing so when you are dribbling down your geriatric gown!

Contrary to what you think the protestors give far more of a 'f***' than you do because they understand the implications of fracking!
[quote][p][bold]Ambo Guy[/bold] wrote: Do the Fracking protester morons care? Do they f***. I'm sure if they were tax payers themselves they might care a bit more but what's it to them if the long suffering tax payers have to foot the bill for their pathetic behaviour.[/p][/quote]That's a rather embittered comment. Whether you like it or not, everyone pays taxes. It may not be in the simplistic way you think about it, but everyone is a consumer and pays for the privilige. If it's income tax you are talking about, then I guess in your 'logical world' you must have been paying tax whilst you were in nappies and will still be doing so when you are dribbling down your geriatric gown! Contrary to what you think the protestors give far more of a 'f***' than you do because they understand the implications of fracking! whatone
  • Score: -1

11:23pm Tue 21 Jan 14

B Chudrun says...

Who took the decision to deploy the amount of officers who appeared in Balcombe? Without disclosing where those decisions were made - in London or Sussex, Katy Bourne is not providing us, the local tax payers, with the complete picture. Many local people want to know how the decisions about policing were made - especially in light of so many of those arrested not having the reasons for arrest upheld in court.
Who took the decision to deploy the amount of officers who appeared in Balcombe? Without disclosing where those decisions were made - in London or Sussex, Katy Bourne is not providing us, the local tax payers, with the complete picture. Many local people want to know how the decisions about policing were made - especially in light of so many of those arrested not having the reasons for arrest upheld in court. B Chudrun
  • Score: 3

11:33pm Tue 21 Jan 14

B Chudrun says...

Who decided to deploy so many officers to Balcombe? Katy Bourne is only giving half the story if she states the cost, but not where the decision was made to create such a cost with amazing amounts of police present - was it Home Office in London or someone in Sussex? Local tax payers are especially interested as so many of those arrested during peaceful protest have been vindicated in court.
Who decided to deploy so many officers to Balcombe? Katy Bourne is only giving half the story if she states the cost, but not where the decision was made to create such a cost with amazing amounts of police present - was it Home Office in London or someone in Sussex? Local tax payers are especially interested as so many of those arrested during peaceful protest have been vindicated in court. B Chudrun
  • Score: 1

10:55am Sun 26 Jan 14

SussexWood says...

While I agree that because protesters embark on their madness with no intention of funding their jollies in a campaign against fracking that was never planned for Balcombe anyway, the cost is a national burden, not a local one.
However, Ms Bourne, you can knock off £621,860 from your claim immediately; you can't add in costs of police wages that would have been paid anyway! And what is "mutual aid"? Vehicle costs? Would these police vehicles otherwise have been off the road? We all know how La Bourne is keen on blowing her own trumpet but she should not play with smoke and mirrors if she wants to appear to be battling for Sussex taxpayers.
While I agree that because protesters embark on their madness with no intention of funding their jollies in a campaign against fracking that was never planned for Balcombe anyway, the cost is a national burden, not a local one. However, Ms Bourne, you can knock off £621,860 from your claim immediately; you can't add in costs of police wages that would have been paid anyway! And what is "mutual aid"? Vehicle costs? Would these police vehicles otherwise have been off the road? We all know how La Bourne is keen on blowing her own trumpet but she should not play with smoke and mirrors if she wants to appear to be battling for Sussex taxpayers. SussexWood
  • Score: 0

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