Met Police: £700k spent on student climate strikes

London’s Metropolitan Police spent £670,052 policing the youth climate strikes this year, according to data obtained by The Beaver in a Freedom of Information request. The Beaver sought information on police spending during the major youth climate strikes which occurred in March, May, September, and November.

The force spent £317,761.67 for the September 20th strike, which was joined by a number of other non-student groups in solidarity, and is believed to be the largest coordinated climate action in British history. £101,822 was spent the 15 March demonstration, £144,237 on 24 May, and £106,232 on 20 November. The figures include “opportunity costs, overtime, fleet, and catering” costs. In total, the force spent just under £120,000 paying out overtime surrounding the demonstrations.

The figures are substantially less than the £37m spent by the Met on Extinction Rebellion protests this year, which paralyzed much of central London in April. After youth protestors occupied bridges and a number of roads around Westminster in March, police instituted strict controls over the student demonstrations. Strike organizer Student Climate Action noted that during the September strikes, “students were prevented from marching to the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy to stand in solidarity with workers on strike.”

In a comment to The Beaver, Student Climate Action said that it “deplores the excessive state expenditure on policing at the recent climate strikes. The hundreds of thousands of pounds spent on policing for the September strike alone could have been used in any number of ways to improve our social services and help us transition to a sustainable future, but instead they were used to suppress and harass young people fighting to take back their futures.”

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