Insulate Britain September protests on M25 cost Hertfordshire Police £8,000 a day
Using the police’s estimates, the four protests in September cost the force more than £33,500
Policing Insulate Britain protests on the M25 in Hertfordshire cost police more than £8,000 a day in September, according to new figures.
The campaign group has been protesting on major roads across the south-east since mid-September, and are calling for the Government to do more to insulate homes across the country.
The protests have included bringing the M25 and A1M to a standstill as protesters sat on, and in some cases glued themselves to, the motorway and slip roads.
Despite an injunction aimed at preventing the protests, last week protesters were seen walking against the flow of traffic on the M25 near St Albans.
A Freedom of Information request by the Local Democracy Reporting Service has now revealed that Hertfordshire Constabulary is estimating the cost of policing the protests at £8,396.46 per day.
Four protests took place in Hertfordshire during the first 10 days of action between September 13 and September 23, before the Government injunction limited activity for a number of weeks.
Using the police’s estimates, the four protests in September cost the force more than £33,500.
Including the subsequent local protests in October and November with the same figure, the seven protests would have likely cost the taxpayer £58,775.22.
This figure doesn’t include any costs for resources used on days that protests didn’t materialise in Hertfordshire.
Hertfordshire Constabulary said they were unable to provide a breakdown of how many officers have had to be deployed to each protest.
In response to the figures, the force said that protesters have put themselves at risk, and “posed a substantial risk to countless other members of the public”.
The police force has said policing the protests risks diverting the police’s resources away from preventing other crime across the county.
At least 76 arrests have been made in connection with the protests in Hertfordshire.
Nick Caveney, Chief Superintendent at Hertfordshire Constabulary, said: “As always, our priority remains to protect the public we serve.
“Not only have the dangerous actions of these protestors put themselves at severe risk, they have also posed a substantial risk to countless other members of the public who are just going about their daily lives.
“The right to protest does not include the right to endanger others, to intimidate people or to break the law.
“In order to minimise the disruption caused, we have had to dedicate resources to spotting protestors and removing them quickly; diverting valuable police resources away from our core role of preventing crime, catching criminals, and protecting the public.”
Insulate Britain did not respond to a request for comment, but on November 4 released a statement describing themselves as “one of the most successful campaigns in history” as a result of attracting significant attention following the protests.
The statement continued: “This happened not because we blocked motorways but because we blocked motorways to demand action on the crisis of humanity: climate breakdown.
“We presented the government with a dilemma because they cannot allow the disruption to continue but jailing people for demanding action on the climate ahead of a major UN Climate Conference is not a good look for the host country.”
The activists urged the Government to retrofit 29 million homes with insulation, and said the Government has “no intention of taking the necessary action to protect its people” in relation to climate change.
The statement concluded: “What we say to the bystanders who look on in fear and denial is this: look at what we did. A hundred people captured the country’s attention for weeks. Think what 1000 people can achieve. Come and join us and we will change the tide of history.
“What more meaningful thing can you do with your lives, at this time when everyone and everything you love is in mortal danger?”