24 October, 2017

Julia publishes cost of policing protests in Kirby Misperton

North Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Julia Mulligan, has published the additional costs incurred to date by North Yorkshire Police for policing the protests at Kirby Misperton.

There has been police engagement with protestors and the local community since hydraulic fracturing was first approved in May 2016, but a higher police presence was required once work began on site in September this year.

As part of her commitment to openness and transparency, Julia has announced that North Yorkshire Police will publish the additional cost of policing the protests every month, as soon as figures are available.

The additional cost of policing the operation amounted to:

  • £80,238 up to 31 August 2017
  • £101,476 during September

*These figures cover police officer overtime, equipment and subsistence, travel-related costs. These costs do not include the cost of those officers that are assigned to policing the site on a day-to-day basis, which are costs which would be borne whether there was a protest or not.

Julia, the national lead for integrity and transparency, has also put the policing operation at Kirby Misperton as a standing item on the agenda of her monthly Public Accountability Meetings (PAM) which can be watched online.

Julia said: “North Yorkshire Police has the necessary contingencies and budgets in place to ensure the force is able to deal with events such as policing protests. Above and beyond our usual budgeting there are also reserves earmarked for any major incidents that arise during the course of the year.

“However, should the cost of the operation increase to over one percent of the total policing budget in North Yorkshire, the government holds a fund to assist local forces. I am seeking reassurance from the Government that money from this fund will be available, should it be needed.”

After responding to concerns that the operation would impact local policing in the rest of North Yorkshire and York, Julia added: “Operation Kingfisher is a significant resourcing challenge, so it is likely to have an impact on policing across the rest of the county, but I know the Chief Constable is committed to keeping that impact as minimal as possible.

“I am confident that the force has prepared very well for Operation Kingfisher, and for extra reassurance, as well as having a ‘gold’ commander for the fracking operation itself, a second Chief Officer has been given responsibility for ensuring the wider service is maintained as far as is possible.”

In September 2017, a total of 26 people were arrested at the site. Two were released with no further action, two accepted cautions, and the other 22 have been charged to court for offences including obstructing the highway, assaulting a police officer and obstructing a police officer.

Superintendent Alisdair Dey said: “We always respond proportionately to any protest activity. That means at times there will be an increase in the number of police officers in Kirby Misperton. They are there to uphold everyone’s rights under the law and to protect people from harm.

“The policing of this operation is covered by North Yorkshire Police budgets, which include a contingency for policing operations such as this, and the cost is kept continuously under review. As part of our commitment to openness and transparency, we will publish the cost on a monthly basis.

“It’s a significant challenge to balance the rights, needs and wishes of all parties involved in this issue. That includes the right of people to assemble and protest peacefully, balanced against the right of local people to go about their daily lives safely and without disruption.

“I’d like to reassure people that, although we are focused on this operation, it is still ‘business as usual’ elsewhere for North Yorkshire Police, and we are attending to all of our usual duties and providing a high quality service across North Yorkshire and the City of York.”

Find out more about the Public Accountability Meetings