Force sees overtime and mutual aid bill increase amid anti-fracking protests

A police and crime commissioner (PCC) has been given assurances that costs of policing fracking protests can be recovered as the amount it spent doubled in one month.

Dec 7, 2017

A police and crime commissioner (PCC) has been given assurances that costs of policing fracking protests can be recovered as the amount it spent doubled in one month. Third Energy has been setting up its fracking test site since September, sparking months of continuous demonstrations from protestors. Police officers have been deployed near the site to keep the road clear as lorry convoys transport the equipment. In August, North Yorkshire Police paid £80,238, and £101,476 in September for overtime, mutual aid, equipment, subsistence and travel-related costs. However this rose to £233,704 in October as more officers were needed following an increase in protest activity. And in November, the costs decreased by 36 per cent to £147,881. If the expenses go beyond £1.4 million, Policing and Fire Minister Nick Hurd has said North Yorkshire PCC Julia Mulligan can seek partial recovery of the costs. As part of her commitment to transparency, Ms Mulligan will be publishing the additional costs of policing the site in Ryedale every month, as soon as the figures are available. She said: “The costs incurred during October were considerably higher than the previous month and this is due to a number of factors, including a rise in the number of officers needed when protest activity increased and, on a number of occasions, support from other police forces in the form of mutual aid. As well as keeping people safe at the Kirby Misperton site, I am also keen that business as usual is maintained across the county, as far as possible. If mutual aid is required, then that must be the decision, although as you can see from the figures, it is costly. “However, at the moment North Yorkshire Police has the necessary contingencies and budgets in place to deal with events such as this in the short term. “However, if the costs go beyond one per cent of our total budget, I have this week received a positive response from the policing minister to my letter stating that I have the option to seek a partial recovery of costs. I’d like to thank the minister for replying so promptly.” Since September, there have been 75 arrests – 64 of which were charged, cautioned or released – in connection with the protest camp in Kirby Misperton. Three people have been charged with assaulting a police officer. Superintendent Alisdair Dey said: “As well as facilitating people’s right to assemble and protest peacefully, part of our role is to keep disruption to local residents and businesses to a minimum. “We are responding proportionately to any protest activity, which means at times there is an increase in the number of police officers in Kirby Misperton as we work to keep everyone safe. “When protests are safe and peaceful, we are able to scale down our resources at Kirby Misperton, and redeploy those officers on other duties, such as high-visibility patrols and neighbourhood policing elsewhere in North Yorkshire.”

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