Latest figures reveal £230,000 spent in one month on policing Yorkshire fracking site protests

Officers have been policing protests in Kirby Misperton on an almost daily basis.
Officers have been policing protests in Kirby Misperton on an almost daily basis.

Policing ongoing protests at the region’s first fracking site cost North Yorkshire Police almost £250,000 last month, it was revealed today.

Anti-fracking campaigners have been staging protests outside Third Energy’s site in Kirby Misperton, near Malton, since the company first won approval.

However, their protests have stepped up since mid-September when preparatory work began.

North Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Julia Mulligan, confirmed £233,704 in additional policing costs had been incurred during October.

The figure includes overtime, mutual aid, equipment, subsistence and travel-related costs, but not the costs of the officers assigned on a daily basis since they would be working regardless.

It was previously revealed that costs up to August 31 were £80,238 and costs for September were £101,476.

In her latest update, Ms Mulligan said higher costs had been expected in October since this was the first full month of the policing operation.

She added: “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.”

A spokeswoman for the Kirby Misperton Protection Camp described the policing of its peaceful protests as a “scandalous misallocation” of resources.

She said: “North Yorkshire County Council are following national government policy based on the proven fallacy that we need shale gas.

“National government are forcing this on North Yorkshire. National government should pay.”

Ms Mulligan previously said the county’s force had the necessary contingencies and budgets to cope in the short term, but government help would be sought if the bill exceeded one per cent – £1.4m – of the total budget.

In today’s update, she said: “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.”

During October, 40 people were arrested in connection with protest activity. It resulted in 35 people being charged, cautioned, or kept under investigation.

This was up from the 26 arrests in September, which led to 24 being charged or cautioned.

Superintendent Alisdair Dey, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “When protests are safe and peaceful, we are able to scale down our resources at Kirby Misperton, and redeploy those officers on other duties elsewhere in North Yorkshire.”