Published: 16:14, 31 August 2017
Kent Police has defended sending police officers to Lancashire to help deal with protests against fracking - involving a round-trip of more than 500 miles.
A Kent riot van was spotted at a site in Lancashire where demonstrators are protesting over plans by the energy company Cuadrilla to carry out exploratory drilling for shale gas.
The presence of Kent police officers at the Preston New Road Site in the county was questioned by Green campaigner Stuart Jeffrey.
"I want to know what they are doing there and who is paying for them. I want to know why they have an interest in the anti-fracking movement when there are crimes being committed on the streets of Kent.
"I want to know who decided it was OK for them to travel 300 miles to Lancashire rather than policing the towns in Kent."
The site is currently the front line of the anti-fracking campaign after Lancashire County Council turned down an application to frack there only to have it overturned by the Secretary of State.
Asked why the force was assisting with the operation so far away, Kent Police Chief Superintendent Alison Roden said: “Kent Police is one of many police forces across the UK that has assisted with operations in Lancashire as part of a mutual aid request from the National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC).
“This request was received weeks ago and Kent Police has organised resources accordingly to ensure that we continue to provide a first class service to the people of Kent.
“Mutual aid provides support to all police forces during large scale operations and Kent Police has previously benefited from the mobilisation of police assets during unique times of high demand.”