PCC’s ‘deep concern’ as fracking protestors accused of feigning injuries for the cameras

Paramedics have accused anti-fracking protestors of pulling publicity stunts by faking injuries and falsely accusing officers of police brutality.

Dec 15, 2017

Paramedics have accused anti-fracking protestors of pulling publicity stunts by faking injuries and falsely accusing officers of police brutality. North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) was called out ten times in July to attend a site near Blackpool where Cuadrilla is set to begin drilling for shale gas. Lancashire Constabulary has arrested and charged more than 300 people involved in anti-fracking demonstrations against fracking, and policing costs have reached almost £3 million since the start of the year. Graham Curry, area manager of the NWAS, said seven of the “injured” protestors refused to go to hospital and were found to have no illnesses or injuries. Protests also blocked a main road, preventing ambulances responding to emergencies in a nearby village on at least two occasions, he added. In an email to Lancashire police and crime commissioner (PCC) Clive Grunshaw, he wrote: “I can say that the seven cases who refused seemed to be more for effect and the cameras rather than for any clinical need.” On August 1, Mr Curry was forced to attend an incident in which a protester became aggressive towards ambulance staff after claiming his neck had been broken by officers. “I found the patient was walking around and swearing at my paramedics and me. He refused to go to hospital,” Mr Curry said. Mr Grunshaw described the figures raised by NWAS as “deeply concerning”. “If people are calling ambulances on an emergency basis but not using them, this is diverting important resources from actual life-or-death situations,” he added. “The public will rightly be angered if resources have been wasted in this way.” A Lancashire Constabulary spokesperson said: “Our aim as always is to ensure a consistent and co-ordinated policing response and ensure a balance between the rights of people to peacefully protest, together with the rights of the wider public, including local businesses, to go about their lawful activities.” Meanwhile, North Yorkshire PCC Julia Mulligan revealed the cost of policing fracking protests at Kirby Misperton has hit more than £500,000 since August. If the expenses go beyond £1.4 million, Policing and Fire Minister Nick Hurd has said the PCC can seek partial recovery of the costs. .

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