Essex Police confirms cost of policing fuel protests over the last six days has topped £1m

Police at the scene of the protests in Essex, which have been going on for a week Credit: Essex Police

The bill for policing fuel protests in Essex over the last six days has already topped £1m, the force has revealed, as it called for fuel companies to step up security and take the pressure off police.

Activists from Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion have been attempting to block access to oil terminals, demanding that the government stops new oil and gas projects.

Essex Police has confirmed the cost of policing the demonstrations has already reached £1m, with the bill likely to rise further as protests continue to soar.

On Friday, officers said they had arrested 270 people "a number of locations" in connection with the protests in Thurrock. They said protesters arrived at London Road, Purfleet on Friday morning and officers were in the process of making a further 65 arrests.

Deputy Chief Constable Andy Prophet said the operation had put "a real strain" on the force, while thanking officers and other organisations, including fire, ambulance and the council, for their work.

He said police were working with the fuel distribution companies to encourage them to step up security at their sites.

Police had arrested 270 people in connection with the protests as of Friday morning Credit: Essex Police

“[Police officers'] commitment has allowed us to maintain a 24/7 presence in the area throughout the last week. This has not eliminated the disruption but has kept it to a minimum. Fuel transportation has continued and there is no need for any panic buying.

“This has put a real strain on the force. One of the things I’m focused on is what more the fuel companies can do to protect their infrastructure, perhaps using private security.

“If those measures are put in place, policing can deal with these incidents quicker and further reduce the disruption being caused.

“We know the people of Essex would prefer officers to be able to focus on the job of stopping crime and arresting criminals and, to be perfectly honest, so do I."

He added: “To be clear, we are not in any way anti-protest; there is a right to protest but there is no right to commit crime.”

The group has dug a secret network of tunnels at the Navigator Oil terminal in Thurrock and Grays oil terminals as part of the action.

Elsewhere in the country more than 100 arrests were made at a fuel terminal in Warwickshire.