Climate change protests cost police extra £7m, says Met boss

Climate change protests across the capital cost police an extra £7 million and put a “huge strain” on the force, Britain’s most senior officer has said.

Over 10 days in April, activists brought parts of London to a standstill, blocking Waterloo Bridge and Oxford Circus, staging a “die-in” at the Natural History Museum, and gluing themselves to objects.

At a Scotland Yard briefing, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick revealed that the extra costs of policing the event ran to more than £7 million.

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators hold a community meeting on Waterloo Bridge in London
Extinction Rebellion demonstrators hold a community meeting on Waterloo Bridge (Gareth Fuller/PA)

That included paying for overtime and kit, such as a cherry picker and barriers, she said.

However, the figure did not include the impact of taking officers away from other work fighting crime in the capital, she said.

Ms Dick said: “It put a huge strain on my officers and I cannot speak highly enough of what they gave.

“The guys and girls on the street, many of them were working 12-hour shifts.

Metropolitan Police surround Extinction Rebellion demonstrators on Waterloo Bridge in London
Metropolitan Police surround Extinction Rebellion demonstrators on Waterloo Bridge (Victoria Jones/PA)

“Many of them, they literally did not see their children for days and days. They just got on with it and I am extremely grateful to all of them for what they did, the professionalism and restraint they showed throughout that set of operations.”

Some 1,130 people were arrested during the protests which started on April 15, while some 10,000 police officers were deployed.

The Metropolitan Police have said 69 people were charged, while British Transport Police charged three.

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