An anti-fracking demonstration in Derbyshire has cost police almost £140,000 since it began in June.
Protesters have been camped outside drilling company PR Marriott’s, on Pilsley Road, Danesmoor, for the last four months.
Now, the Derbyshire Police Federation, which represents officers, has said the amount of money spent on policing the protest is unsustainable.
However, further claims that officers had been subjected to ‘terrible abuse’ by protesters were disputed by Derbyshire police.
Inspector Mark Pickard, chairman of Derbyshire Police Federation, said: “We have fewer officers than we have ever had before and we have to prioritise how we use them. Do we take police officers away from their daily duties?
“If the figure of £138,000 is overtime payments, we can’t do that for very long without it having an impact of policing things like football matches,” he added.
Do we take police officers away from their daily duties?Inspector Mark Pickard
In terms of the abuse officers had allegedly experienced, Inspector Pickard said: “I have seen instances of these people being really in the faces of police officers – they should not have to put up with that.”
The protesters have now left the Danesmoor site, but Inspector Pickard said he believed they would soon continue their campaign elsewhere.
Derbyshire Constabulary has previously said the force was aware that ‘concerns’ had been raised about the cost of the operation – but would continue to work ‘impartially’ with everyone involved.
Chief Superintendent Graham McLaughlin said: “We recognise the disruption the protest caused to local businesses but we also understand that people have a right to protest peacefully and we were able to strike that balance by maintaining relationships on all sides through our protest liaison officers.
“While the protest was ongoing, we aimed to prevent crime and disorder but when it did occur, we provided a lawful and proportionate response.”