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Lancashire PCC wants government to pay for policing fracking protest

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The commissioner says government decided to allow practice so they should pay the bill.

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The Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire wants the government to foot the bill for policing protests against fracking.

Clive Grunshaw says the government's decision to allow fracking to take place means they should bear the cost of protests against it rather than Lancashire Police.

Fracking is the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into rock crevices underground in order to extract oil or gas and it has been met with fierce opposition from environmental campaigners.

PCC Grunshaw says a force looking to make 25 per cent savings and having lost 800 officers to austerity can scarcely afford the cost of policing the protests.

He said: “The decision to allow fracking in Lancashire is a decision made in Westminster, but the people of Lancashire are being asked to pick up the tab of policing the protests that go with it.

“Costs are currently running to hundreds of thousands of pounds and likely to reach the millions – these are costs we are having to meet now out of our police budget.

“However, the Government’s rules mean that Lancashire residents have to meet at least the first £2.6m.

“Only after that threshold has been passed can we apply for additional support and even then, there is no guarantee the government will pay.

“The site is off a main trunk road and the campaigners are putting themselves and our police officers at risk by some of the behaviour we have seen so the level of policing required is high.

“The officers are caught in the middle, they are local people themselves there to ensure the right to peaceful protest is upheld along with the right of people to go about their daily business.

“It’s a very difficult position for everyone to be in and one that is entirely of the Government’s making.”

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