Photograph - Fylde police public facebook page
Superintendent Richard Robertshaw was today given the task of answering questions about the policing of the controversial shale gas extraction site on Preston New road in Little Plumpton, Lancashire.
The online Questions & Answers session was set up by the Fylde police to answer question on the policing operation at the Cuadrilla owned site.
We asked the Police Superintendant the following question in relation to online videos and live streams that are being widely circulated showing officers from Lancashire constabulary assaulting protesters and members of the public as well as what appears to be violations of the law and misuse of powers to prevent people from peaceful protest at the Preston New road site.
“Are the videos and live streams widely available on the internet of Lancashire constabulary officers breaking the law, assaulting people illegally kettling people and denying the right to peaceful protest real or fake?”
The police superintendent failed to respond to the question despite freely answering number of other questions immediately after. In fact we put the same question to Supt Robertshaw no fewer than 4 times.
Conscious that Richard Robertshaw had a large number of questions to get through we rephrased the question to make it easier for him to answer asking the following:
“Are the videos and live streams widely available on the internet of Lancashire constabulary officers breaking the law, assaulting people, illegally kettling people and denying their right to peaceful protest fake?”
We were looking for a simple yes or no answer but after asking the question several more times we give up accepting that Supt Robertshaw was avoiding the question all together.
Some people did respond in response to the question on the social media site however saying
Clare Willis-Burton "100% real thank you for asking”
Danny Vc Llew "Yes, check my videos! There are loads out there, and plenty of edits.”
Lancashire police were also put under pressure to answer other questions. Confirming that they were actually facilitating Cuadrilla's operation at the site. When asked questions about the delivery operations they said “Yes, the police are facilitating Cuadrilla's deliveries to site” A comment that sparked anger amongst some of the anti-fracking community and the general public.
Questions are now being asked if this is the best use of Lancashire’s tax payer’s money and if the facilitation of a corporations business activities should even be the legitimate role of the police.
Frank Hill asked “Why are your officers committing sexual assaults on members of the public? Is it because you give authorisation to do so?” In return Supt Robertshaw confirmed that a transparent complaints procedure was in place and “To date, in excess of 30 complaints have been made in relation to the policing operation. These will all be investigated and treated on a case-by-case basis”
Nick Sheldrick asked “How long are your officers going to continually man handle peaceful protesters and facilitate deliveries for the shale gas industry? I myself have had 2 unpleasant incidents at the hands of your officers and I'm just a concerned local lad” Supt Robertshaw replied by saying “Obviously I can't comment on specific incidents that may have occurred”
The Questions and answer sessions come just hours after Anti-fracking protesters dubbed the “Protectors” brought the Cuadrilla site and the whole of Preston new road to a standstill for hours after 8 protectors “locked on” to each other preventing them from being moved by the police. The group of protesters said they had been left with no choice but to take the action as Lancashire police had refused to facilitate peaceful protest outside the gates of the AE Yates managed site.
The Protectors later give way and moved to the site entrance as a fatal accident on the M55 brought the route in to Blackpool to a standstill and a diversion route was set up along the A583. The protesters were later arrested and taken in to custody after being removed by specialist cutting teams.
They have vowed to continue to fight against fracking.
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