Posted by: westlancashirerecord | August 9, 2017

Incident At Halsall Polling Station 8 June 2017

In a remarkable response to the events at the Halsall Polling Station in June, reported on WLR, we can now confirm from the official Police Log a series of Police Operational decisions which show that not only was an Armed Response Unit dedicated as a Police Divisional resource for the election, and deployed, but that there is also now a dedicated Divisional Police resource for Fracking Protest.

What is also confirmed beyond doubt is that the original complaint received third hand from a WLBC Employee, from local resident Cllr David Westley, was that “an anti Fracking protest had been set up, outside the Polling station on Halsall Road at Halsall” . This claim is debunked by the Police Log, that “It was not initially clear the numbers involved until informant, having re contacted the Polling Station, advised that there were indeed only two persons” and that “ The Sergeant reported that 4 persons  had set up a Gazebo with the land owner’s permission. They were some considerable distance from the Polling station and were not actively approaching any voters but were happy to speak with anyone who approached them. They were local residents and left at 20:30hrs, without incident”.

The Operational Log states “…West Lancs Geographic Insp. Was on duty, to assist with the reassurance operation and oversee the policing operation at the “Count”. Attended the Polling station as the local “protesters” were leaving. Speak with staff for general update on the operation and any welfare issues. Resume after a short visit to return to Count Location…dedicated Divisional resource for Fracking protest, was not deployed, heard the incident via Police radio, self deployed, arrived and immediately resumed…Armed Response Unit – dedicated Divisional resource for the Election, were on patrol in West Lancs and self deployed to the incident and resumed prior to Insp’s arrival. These units carry two officers”.

The Police Log concludes with the Geographic Inspector West Lancashire stating that “This incident has incurred no extra cost to the Constabulary, above the dedicated resources in place for the Election. There were no deployments of staff that were not dedicated resources to the Election operation and no deviation to normal Police resilience for the area. The Armed Response Vehicle was on roving patrol and at that time was in West Lancashire offering further visible presence. ARVs regularly self deploy or are despatched, to non firearms incidents and are a vital resource when managing demand. I am not aware of any unmarked BMW in that location, or being used on this operation. I attended in an unmarked Vauxhall Corsa and although I did not see ARV at the Polling Station, I did see them in Burscough and Ormskirk, in a fully liveried BMW”.

The conclusion to this sorry episode must be that if we accept as is claimed there has been no extra cost to the Constabulary, there has been a sheer waste of Constabulary time by the spurious claim as confirmed that a “protest” was taking place, not the matter of local residents so concerned by the issuing of fracking licences for virtually all of the local area that they were simply providing leaflets to other local residents who asked for them.

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