Almost 200 police officers were involved in Upton's anti-fracking eviction, costing taxpayers an estimated £200,000 over a six-day period.
Ensuring public safety during the protest at the Duttons Lane camp earlier this month was 'critical', say Cheshire Constabulary.
They carried out a 'complex' operation to simultaneously allow lawful protest and enable High Court officials to carry out the eviction notice on those campaigning against energy company iGas sinking an exploratory gas well in the area.
A total of 175 officers were dispatched to monitor safety on the site and ensure the surrounding area was secure. This resulted in a 'minimal' number of arrests and three recordable complaints, which are currently being investigated.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts said he believed it had been a 'well planned and undertaken operation'.
“This was a difficult and challenging policing operation, which required great sensitivity on the part of the officers involved," he said.
“In planning the operation we took into account the very strong feelings about the issue, and the fact that the camp was the oldest and most established ‘anti-fracking’ site in the country. At the same time it was our responsibility to ensure that High Court officials could undertake their lawful duty.
“The fact that there was no violence, and only nine arrests for minor offences, reflects what we believe was a well-planned and undertaken operation."
He added: "I’d like to thank our officers who undertook their role with great sensitivity. I’d also like to acknowledge that, despite the strong feelings of the protesters and those who were removed during the eviction, the protest was good natured.”
A dozen protesters were removed from the site during the initial eviction, and the Police and Crime Commissioner invited a number of observers to act as ‘critical friends’ and to be present at the site during the eviction. These will be reporting back to the Commissioner on their observations for a report that will be made public via the Commissioner’s website.
Asst. Roberts said the cost of the operation was estimated at £200,000 for the six days, which was key to ensuring the safety of the large numbers of protesters, media, and officials involved in the eviction.
"The site itself was extremely hazardous, and heavy machinery needed to be marshaled on to the site throughout the day," he said.
“Despite the risks there were no injuries, either to those who were evicted or to officials undertaking the eviction, reflecting, we believe, the effectiveness of the steps we had put in place.”
iGas has now taken full ownership of the Duttons Lane camp and are in the process of removing the protesters’ structures. An ecological assessment is taking place in respect of any wildlife on the site before further activity takes place.
Police added that they are not currently investigating any wildlife crime in relation to this issue.