Unbelievable. Not only does this Government impose fracking on our county, despite widespread local objections and opposition from Lancashire County Council – but it refuses to fund the cost of policing the daily protests taking place on Preston New Road. So far it has cost Lancashire Constabulary £7 million to manage this situation. The Police Commissioner requested Special Grant Funding to cover these costs. The Government refused.
In July I wrote to the Home Office requesting Special Grant Funding to cover these costs. The Government has once again refused. (See their letter in full above). The Minister Nick Hurd says police forces should include within their policing and budget plans ‘reasonable contingencies for unexpected events with their areas.’
The legitimate protests outside the fracking site have now been going on for nearly two years. This cannot therefore be classed as an ‘unexpected event.’ Indeed, by ignoring the will of the people the Government’s action has led to protests that were absolutely expected by all agencies involved.
On top of this, nationally we have lost 210,000 police officers since 2010, police budgets have been slashed and violent crime is on the increase.
I will once again write to the Home Office. The people of Lancashire have suffered not only from having fracking imposed on them but now have to accept their police force is under even more strain as a result.