The Lancashire Police have asked the Home Office for an extra £3.1m to recover some of their additional expenses in policing the Cuadrilla site at Preston New Road. That is the equivalent of £8 a Lancashire household and enough to pay for 25 police officer jobs. In 2014, Sussex police got £905,000 for their operation to protect a fracking site.
The figure emerged as other peers followed up my question about the unnecessary costs of over policing the fracking protests, with Labour asking for clarity about whether the Policing and Crime Commissioner has the power to order the police to suspend their operation. There was also a question about why police from Wales, which has a ban on fracking, have been drafted in to help police the protest.
Estimates made by a local blogger are far higher at over £10m, as he claims that the police are only approaching the Home Office for ‘additional’ costs, rather than the everyday ‘opportunity cost’ to Lancashire Constabulary of having these officers deployed to defend Cuadrilla, rather than patrolling the streets and fighting crime.