UK

Just Stop Oil protests cost police £4.5 million in six weeks

Just Stop Oil (JSO) protests have cost the Metropolitan Police £4.5 million in six weeks, the force said (PA)
Just Stop Oil (JSO) protests have cost the Metropolitan Police £4.5 million in six weeks, the force said (PA) Just Stop Oil (JSO) protests have cost the Metropolitan Police £4.5 million in six weeks, the force said (PA)

Just Stop Oil (JSO) protests have cost the Metropolitan Police £4.5 million in six weeks, the force said.

Activists have been staging demonstrations every day since April 24, mainly marching slowly on major roads in London, but also disrupting high profile events like the Chelsea Flower Show, Gallagher Premiership rugby final at Twickenham and World Snooker Championship.

Up to June 8, nearly 13,770 officer shifts had been used dealing with the demonstrations, the Met said on Monday.

The £4.5 million cost is on top of the £7.5 million spent policing the series of protests JSO staged between last October and December.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan said: “In deploying the new tactics of moving slowly in front of traffic along highways, Just Stop Oil’s intent has been clear on disrupting road users.

“This has caused significant impact to the public and officers have been responding as swiftly as possible once aware of the incidents.”

Officers have new powers introduced last month to force protesters out of the road if they are deemed to be causing significant disruption, and these have been used in 125 of the 156 slow marches that have taken place so far.

Police said 86 people have been arrested for failing to comply, with 49 charged so far.

A Just Stop Oil protester and player surrounded by a cloud of orange powder paint.
A Just Stop Oil protester and player surrounded by a cloud of orange powder paint. A Just Stop Oil protester throws orange powder on the pitch during the Gallagher Premiership final at Twickenham Stadium, London on May 27 (PA)

The demonstrations continued on Monday with protesters marching in various locations including Waterloo near the Imax cinema, Victoria Street and Cromwell Road, Chelsea.

JSO has pledged to carry on its protests indefinitely until the Government stops granting new licences for gas, coal and oil.

Mr Adelekan added: “We know that this action has been very frustrating for the public who just want to carry on with their day-to-day business.

“We would urge the public not to intervene or take matters into their own hands, but to call the police, let us know where the incident is and we will get to the scene quickly.

“It may look like we are not responding quickly enough, however policing protests is complex and there are steps officers must take to make sure our response is lawful and appropriate.

“You can see from both the arrest and charge figures that we are taking this operation very seriously, and once a protest is deemed to have caused serious disruption or may do so, we are taking swift action to stop it.”