THE cost of policing anti-fracking protests went down last month – but still cost North Yorkshire Police nearly £148,000.

The county’s police commissioner, Julia Mulligan, has written to the Government to inform them she expects the cost of policing protests in Ryedale to go beyond one per cent of the force’s budget.

Once the cost goes beyond one per cent – £1.4m in North Yorkshire – financial assistance from central government becomes available to help cover the cost.

Every month Mrs Mulligan publishes the additional cost of policing the site at Kirby Misperton. Between August and the end of November it has so far cost in the region of £563,000.

Last month’s figure of £147,800 is nearly 40 per cent less than the previous month of October, when the force spent£233,700 policing the site.

Active protests outside Third Energy’s well began towards the end of September. But up to August 31, the force spent £80,200 in relation to the site and in September it cost £101,500.

There were a total of eight arrests connected to protest activity at Kirby Misperton in November and 40 arrests in October.

The figures relate to overtime, mutual aid, equipment, subsistence and travel costs and do not include the cost of officers assigned to police the site on a day-to-day basis.

Mrs Mulligan’s office said on many days in November, most police officers due to attend Kirkby Misperton were redeployed to policing duties elsewhere, due to the largely safe and peaceful nature of the protest.

She said: “For a number of reasons, the costs incurred during November are lower than October, and as the operation continues I will be keeping a close eye on the total bill.

“As I’ve said before, North Yorkshire Police has the necessary contingencies in place to deal with events such as this in the short term, but I have already written to the Government in anticipation of costs going beyond one per cent (or £1.4m) of our total budget, after which we can apply for financial assistance.

“I am also keen that policing more widely carries on as usual, especially over the busy Christmas period.

“After getting out and about with officers in the Kirby Misperton area and elsewhere earlier this month, I know people are working hard to ensure this happens.

“I am also keen to hear about any potential impact on members of the public, so please do contact me with your views.”

Superintendent Alisdair Dey said: “We are balancing the needs and wishes of everyone at Kirby Misperton, including people assembling and protesting peacefully, businesses carrying out their lawful activity, and local residents going about their daily lives safely and without disruption.”