Barbara has questioned the Home Secretary about the sheer scale of the police presence at the protest against the development of shale gas at Barton Moss. Barbara pointed out that she had been told by Greater Manchester Police that a force of 150 specialist officers plus local officers from Greater Manchester police was being used. Yet the protest at Barton Moss is at times a very small protest.
Barbara had originally been told by Greater Manchester Police that the 150-strong public order police officers used to police the protest were being paid for by central Home Office budgets. However, Theresa May said that it was a matter for Greater Manchester Police and the GMP Chief Constable, Peter Fahy. This has since been confirmed by Greater Manchester Police.
“I am concerned that a large police force is being deployed to police a small protest at Barton Moss. Greater Manchester Police have over 400 fewer frontline police officers now than we had in 2010, so we also cannot afford to have any of our local police officers deployed at this protest.
“I am worried that crime could rise locally as a result of our Greater Manchester police officers spending time at the Barton Moss protest rather than patrolling in our local communities.
“The scale and cost of the police force being used at the protest at Barton Moss is an issue for tax-payers and I will continue to ask the question as to why the Chief Constable thinks that a force of this size is needed.”
Photograph courtesy of Dawne Sheldrick-Keating/SalfordOnline.com