Just Stop Oil (JSO) has cost the Metropolitan Police more than £7.7million, the force has said. Figures given to LBC by Scotland Yard laid bare the staggering cost of policing 515 protests carried out by the protest group since April. JSO supporters have caused traffic misery with slow marches on major roads in the capital as well as disrupting high-profile sporting events, including Wimbledon.
More than 270 people have been arrested, according to the Met Police with the £7.7million figure equivalent to 23,500 officer shifts.
The cost of policing JSO’s protests is on top of the £7.5m spent by the force policing protest action by Just Stop Oil between October and December last year.
Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist told LBC: “The Met is a resilient organisation, we’re a large organisation and we’re used to policing protests, but this is quite a chronic thing.
“In terms of every single day, we’ve got over 150 officers who ordinarily would be policing in local communities, who are policing in and around other parts of London.”
“And one of the challenges we have with Just Stop Oil is they don’t tell us where they’re going to protest; they don’t tell us when they’re going to take this action; they don’t engage, which means we have to put more officers on it than we otherwise would do.”
On top of marching along main roads, Just Stop Oil activists have disrupted events including The Open, Wimbledon, the Ashes, the Gallagher Premiership rugby final at Twickenham and the World Snooker Championship.
They also took action at Chelsea Flower Show and the London Pride March, disrupted filming of the Channel 4 show The Last Leg, and sprayed orange paint on the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero building in central London.
Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps accused JSO protesters of “illegal criminal damage” last week after two activists filmed themselves spraying his department’s building with orange paint.
Mr Shapps, responding to questions about the paint protest on LBC during a round of broadcast interviews, said: “It is illegal criminal damage and I will leave that to the authorities.”
A video posted on Twitter by JSO appeared to show two protesters using a spray canister to spread orange paint over glass panels covering Mr Shapps’ Whitehall department.
Slow-marching demonstrators were cleared by officers from Westminster Bridge, Victoria Street and Vauxhall Bridge Road, as well as from roads in Marylebone and Kensington last Wednesday alone.
Tory Party chairman Greg Hands, posting a picture on social media of Westminster Bridge being blocked by JSO supporters, called the demonstration “unacceptable”.
JSO describes itself as a nonviolent civil resistance group demanding the British Government stop licensing all new oil, gas and coal projects.