Animal rights demonstrations run up huge bills for police

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The Independent Online
Sussex police are within two weeks of having to apply for emergency funding to meet the cost of dealing with anti-veal trade demonstrations in Shoreham, writes Jason Bennetto.

The force has already spent nearly £2m on policing the protests, which at their peak were costing £150,000 a day.

As animal rights demonstrations spread to another port yesterday, forces throughout the country prepared to face extra bills that are expected to run into millions of pounds.

In the past month, tens of thousands of pounds have been spent by Devon and Cornwall police on controlling protesters who have been trying to prevent calves from being loaded at Plymouth. Last night the action spread to Brightlingsea, Essex. But the big g est bill so far has been for Sussex which at one stage was deploying 1,000 officers every night at Shoreham. About two-thirds of the police were brought in at extra cost from other areas, including the Metropolitan, Essex, Kent, Thames Valley, City of L o ndon, Hampshire, and Surrey forces.

Sussex has about only £2m left of this year's budget, which runs until 31 March. Once the fund is dry, West Sussex and East Sussex councils will have to use their reserves which currently total £26m. The Home Office will provide half the extra money. Although there is no question of either the police authority or county councils going bankrupt, both could have to make cuts later in the year if the demonstrations continue.

David Bellotti, chairman of Sussex Police Authority, said: "We are not going to be bankrupt but it is very serious ...I blame the people who are transporting the animals - they are acting against what the vast majority want."