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10 April, 2018

PCC optimistic over fracking support bid

It could be months before North Yorkshire Police find out how much Government support they will receive over the fracking protests, the Police and Crime Commissioner has said.

Almost three-quarters of a million pounds have been spent on Operation Kingfisher in recent months, with up to 50 police officers operating daily at Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton fracking site, but this amount does not include the day-to-day costs of having officers on-site, only the cost of overtime, bringing officers in from other forces, equipment, subsistence, and travel costs.

Julia Mulligan previously said policing the protests was “one of North Yorkshire Police’s most resource-intensive operations”, and admitted in February the force would soon be applying for help from central Government.

However, following the announcement by Lancashire PCC Clive Grunshaw – whose force had spent almost £7m policing a similar site – that the Government had offered £1.4m – the minimum allowed under Home Office rules – some concern had been raised that North Yorkshire could be short changed.

Mrs Mulligan said the force “has the necessary contingencies and budgets in place to ensure the force is able to deal with events such as this in the short-term”, and she hoped the application for Government funding would be successful.

She said: “However, as the additional costs for Operation Kingfisher has now topped £700,000, with some costs still to be calculated, I met with the policing minister last month to put forward our case for additional funding. The meeting was extremely positive and we are working with officials to put our bid together.

“This has to be assessed as reasonable by the policing inspectorate and will take a number of months. I am optimistic that we will be successful in our application. However I do agree with my colleague in Lancashire that there needs to be another look at the rules the government is applying. The knock-on effects of Op Kingfisher on the wider force are noteworthy and I don’t feel the current formula adequately reflects this.”

The Government pledged to support police forces who spend one per cent of their budget on policing fracking protests, which in the case of North Yorkshire Police totals about £1.4 million.

This story has been reproduced from the York Press