Policing badger culls in Somerset cost £739,000

Policing the pilot badger cull in Somerset cost £739,000, including more than £575,000 spent paying police officers for working on rest days, overtime or unsocial hours.

A breakdown of figures released by Avon and Somerset Police shows policing the initial six-week culls cost £541,000, while the cost of the three-week extension was £197,860.

Planning/senior officer costs were put at £135,000 and vehicle hire was £27,400.

DEFRA will pick up the bill for policing the Somerset culls, which began on 27 August and concluded on 1 November 2013.

See also Badger cull costs claims criticised

Thirty-six people were arrested in connection with the culls, but only one was charged – with a public order offence.

Deputy chief constable John Long said careful planning had helped minimise the impact on local communities.

He added: “Our strategy balanced the need for the government’s policy to be delivered, to respect the rights of individuals to protest, to minimise disruption for local people, and to ensure public safety.

See also More on the badger cull

“I feel the policing operation rose to those challenges, and while there will always be lessons to be learned, the objectives were substantially achieved.”

DEFRA secretary Owen Paterson told the House of Commons last week that cull operators had often faced a “disgraceful amount of intimidation from some of the more extreme protesters”.

The estimated total cost of policing the badger cull in the second pilot county of Gloucestershire was £1.7m, bringing the total cost of policing the culls to more than £2.4m – about £1,311 for every badger culled.


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