Just Stop Oil protests have cost Metropolitan Police £4.5m in six weeks | UK News

Just Stop Oil protests have cost the Metropolitan Police more than £4.5m in the last six weeks, the force said.

Since 24 April, Just Stop Oil (JSO) activists have staged demonstrations every day – including disrupting events like the Chelsea Flower Show, Gallagher Premiership final and World Snooker Championship – in what they call “an indefinite campaign of civil resistance”.

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

This has cost the force over £4.5m as they are diverted from other roles to control the demonstrations which have disrupted traffic and other high-profile events.

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 which have taken place so far.

Police said 86 arrests have been made for failing to comply and 49 people have been charged so far.

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Just Stop Oil activists tweeted that they would only stop their protests when the government stops new oil and gas contracts

The £4.5m is on top of the £7.5m which had already been spent policing the series of protests JSO staged between October and December last year.

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 a significant impact to the public and officers have been responding as swiftly as possible once aware of the incidents.”

Handout photo issued by Just Stop Oil of three protesters at Chelsea Flower Show who have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage in connection with a Just Stop Oil protest. Picture date: Thursday May 25, 2023.
Protesters at Chelsea Flower Show who have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage

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

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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.”

Just Stop Oil activists during  their slow walk protest in central London
Just Stop Oil activists during their slow walk protest in central London

He urged the public not to intervene and take matters into their own hands but to call the police to let them know where the incident is.

“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,” he said.

“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.”