Wales

North Wales Police officers withdrawn from fracking site

Police at Preston New Road

A decision to stop sending North Wales officers to an anti-fracking protest has been welcomed by the force's police and crime commissioner.

North Wales Police will withdraw reinforcements helping Lancashire Constabulary police the protest at Cuadrilla's site near Preston.

The force said it was due to "high demands" in north Wales this summer.

Praising the decision, North Wales PCC Arfon Jones tweeted: "Let them pay for their own security."

The force has had one sergeant and six constables at the site, where demonstrations have been taking place since January.

There have been between 50 and 80 officers at the site every day, including officers from Cumbria, Merseyside and north Wales.

Mr Jones, who is opposed to fracking, said: "I was told that North Wales Police were sending officers to Preston to assist Lancashire Constabulary in policing the fracking protest against Cuadrilla.

"The force were aware I was unhappy but it was an operational decision over which I had no control as mutual aid between forces is provided as part of national agreement on strategic policing requirements.

"I was told last week that there would be no further deployments after I made representations around capacity issues in north Wales and questioned how could we justify sending officers to Lancashire in those circumstances."

Image copyright EyeImagery
Image caption North Wales PCC Arfon Jones welcomed the decision to withdraw his force's officers

North Wales Police Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Pritchard said: "We regularly support colleagues across the region as and when we can and when asked.

"As a force we also benefit from their support and it's only right, when able, we reciprocate."

But he added that "due to high demands in north Wales over the holiday season" the force was unable to offer further support.

"Colleagues in Lancashire are aware of and understand this decision," he said.

Lancashire Constabulary declined to comment.

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