Police given £10k for Sizewell protests

Thursday, November 6, 2008

POLICE officers who are called to protests outside Suffolk's nuclear power station will receive specialised training and equipment courtesy of those who own the reactor.

British Energy has given £10,000 to the county's police force to help them remove campaigners from the site at Sizewell.

The money will be used to provide training for officers on how to use specialist cutting equipment - designed to release those who attach themselves to fences or buildings.

The details of the funding were revealed in papers for Suffolk Police Authority's Engaging Communities Committee, which meets on Friday.

The document reads: "British Energy has provided support to the Constabulary Specialist Support Unit with £10,000 funding to allow the purchase of equipment to aid in the removal of unauthorised personnel from their Sizewell site.

"Over the years protestors have increased the diversity of their 'lock on' capabilities, attaching themselves to a building or large object, and the police have responded with their training and specialist equipment to
allow the safe removal of protestors.

"The funding from British Energy will allow the constabulary to purchase the appropriate equipment and training, which will allow officers to deal with incidents in the most expedient manner, causing the least disruption to the constabulary and the wider community."

The last protest at Sizewell happened earlier this year when campaigners linked their arms together with tubes outside the power station in opposition to the environmental impact of nuclear reactors and uranium

Last night a spokeswoman for British Energy said it was "only right" that they help to pay for the policing of the site.

"To be honest we don't get many protestors - it's not that common - but when we do we want to make sure it all happens safely," she said. "That is the key issue. We fully support peaceful demonstrations - we have no problem with that - but our main concern is for the health and safety of our staff, members of the public and the campaigners themselves.

"For example if someone has chained themselves up and cutting equipment is used we want to make sure it is done correctly and that no one is put at risk.

"As a result we have provided £10,000 to the police for them to purchase specialist cutting equipment and train their officers in the use of that equipment. Therefore - if at any time in the future there is a
demonstration - it can be dealt with in the best possible way. We feel it's only right that we should provide this."

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