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Going Native: British Police Join Anti-Fracking Campaign

The Times

A police and crime commissioner has been accused of abusing his position because his force stopped sending officers to protect a fracking site hit by protests after he intervened.

Arfon Jones, 62, was an anti-fracking campaigner and took part in a protest in Lancashire before being elected as commissioner for North Wales last year. His force is one of seven that policed demonstrations at a site near Blackpool, where Cuadrilla plans to carry out the first fracking in Britain since 2011.

After Mr Jones complained, the force stopped helping Lancashire constabulary, which has been struggling with protesters blocking roads and threatening businesses that supply Cuadrilla. More than 100 officers a day are policing the site, and there have been 200 arrests since January.

The residents’ group Backing Fracking said: “It is disgraceful that Mr Jones thinks he can use his political appointment to try to downgrade the policing response to the fracking protests. That’s the definition of cronyism.”

Mr Jones, a member of Plaid Cymru and former police inspector, said he had been a “prominent member of Frack Free Wrexham” and helped to persuade the Welsh government to issue a moratorium on fracking in 2015. He said: “I was told last week that there would be no further deployments after I made representations around capacity issues in North Wales and questioned how [we] could justify sending officers to Lancashire . . . The decision not to send any more officers . . . after this week may be down to a number of factors, my opposition being only one.”

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