A CRIME tsar has vowed to continue to pressure the Government to contribute towards the £450,000 monthly cost of policing the fracking protest in Lancashire.

Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner, wrote to Policing Minister Nick Hurd earlier this year calling on the Government to cover the costs of policing the protests which has been rumbling on since the Government overturned Lancashire County Council’s decision to allow Cuadrilla at the site in Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.

Officers from across the county, including East Lancashire, and as far as Wales have been seconded to cover the daily protests.

The Government has told Mr Grunshaw to apply for special grant funding, which would see the Home Office pay for anything after a £2.6million threshold has been reached.

Mr Grunshaw said: “The decision to allow fracking in Lancashire was one made in Westminster and the Government must have known it would bring a national protest to the county.

“The policing operation is in place to ensure public safety but they are caught between competing demands of facilitating peaceful protest and allowing companies to conduct their lawful business.

“Resources are being stretched to the limits due to the ongoing operation and sadly the Government has rejected calls from me and Lancashire MPs to support the Constabulary. Ministers have said there will be no additional financial help until costs reach £2.6m – even then, we’ll only be able to claim anything over that initial cost with Lancashire residents left to foot the initial bill.

“I will continue to call on the Government to recognise the pressure being put on Lancashire officers and the police service in general due to this ongoing operation.”

Responding to a letter signed by Lancashire MPs, including Graham Jones, Nigel Evans, Kate Hollern, Julie Cooper and Lindsay Hoyle, raising concern for what they call ‘spiralling costs’, Mr Hurd said: “PCCs can apply for special grant funding if their force faces a significant or unexpected event which threatens the financial stability of the force.

“Special grant funding is usually only available when the additional costs incurred are greater than one per cent of the PCC’s budget.

“Police forces should include within their policing and budget plans reasonable contingencies for unexpected events within their areas.

“Any application received from the PCC will be carefully considered.”