Balcombe fracking protests cost Sussex Police £4m, PCC reveals

Police officers guard the entrance to the drilling site in Balcombe Ms Bourne said it was "unfair to burden" local taxpayers with the cost of policing

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Nearly £4m was spent on policing demonstrations at the site of exploratory drilling in West Sussex, the area's police and crime commissioner (PCC) has revealed.

Fracking protesters from around the country gathered at Balcombe during the summer as energy firm Cuadrilla carried out test drilling for oil.

More than 1,000 people set up camp at the height of the protests in August.

PCC Katy Bourne said she had applied to the Home Office to recover the costs.

She said the final overall cost of policing the protests, including normal police salaries, was £3.985m.

Costs of policing Balcombe protests

  • Mutual aid costs - £1.662m
  • Accommodation, subsistence and vehicle costs - £259,517
  • Supplies and services - £43,507
  • Ordinary officer overtime - £335,519
  • Rest day working - £830,137
  • Staff and divisional overtime - £209,139
  • Normal police salaries - £621,860

Source: Sussex PCC

She said the "additional, unforeseen cost" of policing the demonstrations had "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."

She said it was "unfair to burden" local taxpayers with the cost and looked forward to receiving the Home Office's response "in due course".

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