Just Stop Oil protests cost London Metropolitan Police £7.5m

Destructive protests by the Just Stop Oil Climate Group cost UK taxpayers £7.5m ($9m) in police costs in just nine weeks, new figures show. It has been.

Just Stop Oil, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, has staged destructive protests to highlight calls for the UK government to begin a process of curtailing fossil fuel production in the country.

Members of this group caused serious disruption by climbing the motorway gantries of the M25 and QEII bridges in Dartford, Kent, and blocking major roads in London.

They also sprayed various buildings of the Houses of Parliament with orange paint and staged headline-grabbing protests at the National Gallery, Madame Tussauds and Harrods.

Epoch Times photo
Just Stop Oil activists glue their hands to the wall after throwing soup on Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ at the National Gallery in London, UK, 14 October 2022. (Just Stop Oil via Reuters/Handout)

The daily cost of dealing with environmental activists reached as high as £630,000 ($759,000) last fall, according to Metropolitan Police data obtained by PA through a Freedom of Information request.

The £7.5m police costs cover a total of nine weeks from 1st October to 14th November and from 28th November to 14th December, covering the costs of officers and staff due to work, overtime fees and costs are included. Automotive.

During that time, more than 13,600 police changes were made in response to Just Stop Oil protests.

During the protests, 755 arrests were made for crimes including highway obstruction, criminal damage and conspiracy to cause public nuisance, of which 184 have been charged so far.

‘Come on’

Home Secretary Suela Braverman said of the figures: Blocking highways and slowing down roads delays life-saving emergency services, keeps people from getting to work, and depletes police resources. “

Metropolitan Police Commander Karen Findlay, who heads public order police, said the protests needed “police and funds that could have been better used in the community to deal with priority crimes”. rice field.

Epoch Times photo
Home Secretary Suella Braverman arrives in Downing Street, London, January 10, 2023. (Stefan Rousseau/PA Media)

She continues: When we saw them committing a crime, we immediately dealt with it. “

“We are determined to work with the Attorney General’s Office to prosecute all those whose misconduct has brought misery to the public,” Findlay said. Part of their activity was not a protest.This was a clear criminal act meant to disrupt London and we had to respond effectively.

A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said the protest could require “a significant amount of planning work and resources for the police”.

He went on to say:

But Just Stop Oil said the costs of cracking down on the group’s actions were “proportionate” given billions of pounds being spent worldwide on “adapting to climate change”.

Spokesman Graham Bass, who said last year he attended a “sanctioned” demonstration and was not arrested, said: “People are already dying because of the climate crisis. It’s a really serious problem. The cost of avoiding is much less than the cost of ignoring it.”

Legislative clarity

The UK government on January 16 announced plans to give police powers to deal with “disruptive protests” such as those organized by climate change activists. This will allow police to intervene before protests become too disruptive.

The proposed move would allow police to be more explicit about dealing with demonstrators blocking roads and slowing marches, and is led by groups such as Extinction Rebellion, Insulate Britain and Just Stop Oil. It is a tactic used by

Under the proposed amendments to the Public Order Bill, police can stop demonstrations before they escalate, instead of having to wait for chaos to erupt. Police need not treat series of protests by the same group as separate incidents, but can consider their overall impact.

Cabinet members have suffered a series of legislative defeats in the House of Lords this week as ministers demanded higher standards before enacting new powers.

However, the measure has been welcomed by senior police officers.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley said after the government’s plans were announced: But police are increasingly drawn into complex legal debates about the balance between the right to protest and the right to live a normal life free from serious disruption. With the increasing complexity of , this has become more difficult and contentious. “

Rowley added: In fact, with Congress providing such clarity, there is a clearer line for police to enforce when protests affect others who wish to conduct legitimate business. It will be created. “

PA Media contributed to this report