Policing the protests at Barton Moss

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Peter Cranie, the North West Green Party’s European election candidate, has today written to the Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester highlighting his concerns over the policing of the anti-fracking protest at Barton Moss, Salford. In his letter he highlights the heavy-handedness of the police officers towards protestors and the arrest of a Green Party member last Friday.

The cost of the policing operation at Barton Moss is not yet known, but the Green Party believes that significantly fewer police officers could be deployed. Peter Cranie calls on the Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Lloyd, to re-direct his reources to the local community in Salford, rather than the protection of a profitable private company. He urges Mr Lloyd to ensure the drilling company, IGas, contributes to its security costs, rather than relying on the tax-payer to fund the police operation.

A full copy of Peter’s letter to Greater Manchester Police Commissioner Tony Lloyd is below.

Dear Police Commissioner,

You will be aware that this week at Barton Moss, where peaceful, non-violent protestors are staging lawful protests, there have been several arrests.

I am deeply concerned by some of the footage I have witnessed. Participants in the protests, and those observing, report that the police are being heavy handed and that these protestors are being treated differently from other protest groups.

You will note that in successive protests against fuel duty rises, when entire oil refineries were blockaded, there were no arrests of the protestors except where violence occurred. Yet in these protests where peaceful, non-violent protestors are delaying rather than preventing access, there have been several arrests. On Friday an 82 year old Green Party member was removed from the march and another arrested. A male protestor ended up with a broken knee.

You will be aware that there is a Freedom of Information request pending about the costs of policing these protests. The local community in Salford, who experience crime and anti-social behaviour with insufficient police resource to address it, would be far more deserving of this investment. Why have you chosen to prioritise the protection of a private company ahead of local residents? Should they not be contributing to their security costs, rather than the taxpayer?

As a former MP you are well aware that constituents deserve answers. This very much looks like a case of big business first and local residents last. I hope you will look very carefully at these issues and redirect the resources deployed to protect the fracking industry to those who are genuinely in need in Salford.

Your Sincerely

Peter Cranie

North West Green Party European election candidate

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