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Insulate Britain Protests Have, So Far, Cost Surrey Police £110,000

Published on: 22 Nov, 2021
Updated on: 22 Nov, 2021

Insulate Britain protesting outside the Home Office, London in September (2021). Image – Wikipedia

By Emily Coady Stemp

local democracy reporter

Policing Insulate Britain protests on the M25 in Surrey cost the local police force £110,000, according to new figures. Nine of its activists were jailed this week for breaching High Court injunctions.

The campaign group, which is calling on the government to tackle the climate crisis faster, blocked major roads across the country, including the M25 in Surrey in September and October.

The protestors say: “…if we hadn’t blocked motorways we wouldn’t be in the media…”.

In response to a Freedom of Information request by the LDRS, Surrey Police said it had not yet processed all claims for overtime hours for the force, but anticipated the hours would run to 4,221 overtime hours and an approximate total overtime cost of £110,000.

The figures were correct to November 5, the last Insulate Britain protest to take place in Surrey was on September 21.

While the force could not reply to a request for the full costs including of investigating and producing case files for those arrested and prosecuted, the figures provided show the number of overtime hours worked on the protests and an estimated cost based on overtime rates.

The average cost of an officer overtime hour depends on the rank. The rates used for the estimate include average costs of £39.06 per inspector, £31.63 per sergeant and £25.14 per police constable.

What Surrey Police said

A spokeswoman for Surrey Police said: “Surrey Police is deploying a team of officers dedicated to responding to this protest on a daily basis.

“Their role is to keep people safe and minimise the disruption that protest may cause.

“This is largely being managed through overtime to avoid depleting the normal police response teams.

“Nevertheless this still represents a cost to the overall police budget.

“There is also an impact of the time taken to investigate and produce case files for all those arrested and prosecuted.

“Our response has been firm, robust and within the law and has resulted in a total of 130 arrests over the four days of protest activity on Surrey’s motorways.

“They were arrested on suspicion of a variety of offences, including obstruction of a highway, public nuisance, criminal damage and conspiracy to cause danger to road users.

“They have all been released under investigation while our enquiries continue.

“We are continuing to collate all the evidence, including witness statements and CCTV footage, as part of our ongoing investigation, which will then be presented to the Crown Prosecution Service for a charging decision.”

What Insulate Britain said

An Insulate Britain spokesperson said: “We recognise that our actions have disrupted the lives of ordinary people, if we hadn’t blocked motorways we wouldn’t be in the media making this point – nine people have been imprisoned because they could no longer stand by as our government betrayed their future, others will follow them.

“We all now have a choice to be bystanders as climate chaos kills countless millions and destroys our children’s lives or resist and face the consequences. What will you do?”

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