In a week where arrests in the on-going operation to police the protest at Balcombe have topped 100, the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, has revealed that the cost has now reached £2.449m.
This figure is estimated to be the total cost for the operation up to Thursday (September 12) and shows an increase on the previous week as police have stepped up resources to counteract increased direct action activity at the Cuadrilla drilling exploration site.
Mutual aid costs are now £1.134m; accommodation, subsistence and vehicle costs account for £193,700 and supplies and services amount to £9,800. Ordinary police officer overtime stands at £269,649, rest day working £681,003 and staff overtime and consequential divisional overtime totals £160,495. Normal police salaries for officers working on the operation are £479,548.
Chief Superintendent Tony Blaker said: “On Friday morning (September 13), officers thwarted another attempt to establish a tripod in the middle of the road. Those responsible fled from the scene, but I have no doubt that had they succeeded in erecting and scaling it, we would have seen another protracted road closure.
“Earlier this week, we established an area close to the entrance to the site where the protesters can clearly see and be seen. This, along with associated issue of a Section 14 notice directing where an assembly can take place, was not a decision taken lightly, but with the continuing disruption to users of the road and the local community, it was one that had to be made.
“As we have said all along, we are more than happy to facilitate legitimate, peaceful protest and will continue to do so, but step out of line and you are liable to arrest.”