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No arrests during fracking protests

No arrests during fracking protests

Published at 11:30am 24th May 2016. (Updated at 6:02pm 24th May 2016)

Police are praising people who have taken part in protests over fracking in North Yorkshire.

Officers say the atmosphere during a two-day planning meeting at County Hall in Northallerton was largely good-natured and there were no arrests.

Plans to drill for shale gas near Kirby Misperton got the go-ahead on Monday, despite fierce opposition.

Superintendent Dave Hannan, Head of Specialist Operations at North Yorkshire Police, said: "This issue has generated a great deal of feeling in the local community and beyond. It also has potential to boil over into public disorder and unlawful behaviour.

"North Yorkshire Police worked closely with North Yorkshire County Council and liaised with representatives from all sides of this issue to mitigate this concern, whilst fulfilling our duty to facilitate lawful protest.

"I sincerely thank the protesters for their co-operation throughout the planning meeting and for respecting the local community by keeping disruption to a minimum.

"Positive feedback from the groups involved demonstrated that the neutral role of the police in these often challenging situations was understood and appreciated by the majority of those in attendance."

Meanwhile, North Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Julia Mulligan is confident that any future protests will be adequately covered.

She said: "There is a positive duty on North Yorkshire Police to facilitate lawful and peaceful protests, with fracking being absolutely no different, and I do not expect any resourcing issues as a result of the county council’s decision.

"North Yorkshire Police has the necessary contingencies and budgets in place to ensure the force is well able to deal with such events in the calm and professional manner you would expect, ensuring any impact on local residents is kept to a minimum. 

"Above and beyond our usual budgeting, there are also reserves earmarked for any unplanned major incidents, as well as a general reserve which is there for any eventuality. I firmly believe, however, that any lawful and peaceful protest will be facilitated by the police as usual, keeping costs to a minimum.

"In the worst case, there is the option to apply to the Home Office for financial support should the costs exceed 1% of North Yorkshire Police’s budget, or about £1.5 million, but I believe that is highly unlikely to happen."

fracking protest

Anti-fracking protesters outside County Hall in Northallerton