Frequently asked questions

Date published: 08 March 2019 09:30

A number of energy companies have licences for work of this kind across South Yorkshire, and similar operations across the country have attracted local and national opposition, with the potential for protests where fracking or associated activity is happening. Considering this, SYP has started the planning process, should similar protest activity take place in the county.

We understand the concerns raised by fracking, and as part of our ongoing work we are committed to listening to our communities. We will also maintain a dialogue with all stakeholders so we can address issues where they arise. We take no sides in this matter, remaining independent and impartial, and balancing the rights of all parties involved.

We are not involved in the planning process, that is a matter for energy companies and local authorities and nor do we have a say on potential start dates for activity.

Our core duties are always the protection of life and property, the prevention and detection of crime and the maintenance of the Queen’s peace. We are committed to working with our communities, protestors, the local authority, energy companies and all other interested parties to take all necessary steps to minimise the risk of harm to people and property and reduce the opportunity for crime and disorder.

We will seek to do this while balancing the qualified rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, association and thought, as set out in Articles 9, 10 and 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).

We will seek to do this while balancing the qualified rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, association and thought, as set out in Articles 9, 10 and 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).

What is the policing role?

SYP has an obligation to ensure that we provide a consistent and coordinated policing response to any related protest activity, fulfilling our core responsibilities, behaving in a lawful manner and conducting ourselves in a manner compatible with the values of South Yorkshire Police and the Code of Ethics. We aim to balance the rights of all parties in line with Human Rights Act legislation, being cognisant of the differences between absolute, qualified and limited articles. These human rights extend to all, including the energy company’s employees and the company, who have a right to peaceful enjoyment of property under Protocol 1, Article 1 of the Human Rights Act.

We remain impartial to the ongoing debate in relation to shale gas exploration (fracking).

Peaceful protest

South Yorkshire Police will endeavour to achieve a balance between the rights of energy companies and those wishing to protest for, and against, this activity, while also recognising the rights of local businesses and communities to go about their lawful business.

Peaceful protest is a lawful and an essential part of a democracy. The ‘right to peaceful protest’ comes from the European Convention of Human Rights – Article 10, the right to freedom of expression, and Article 11, the right to peaceful assembly. These rights are qualified rights, which means that South Yorkshire Police can, if necessary, legitimately impose restrictions in the interests of public safety, preventing crime and disorder and / or acting for the protection of the rights of others. Such as preventing protestors from obstructing a highway or obstructing or interfering with other lawful activity.

In fulfilling this core role, SYP remains steadfastly independent from energy companies. We will aim to balance the protestors’ rights to express their opinions peacefully, accommodating this wherever possible, together with the rights of the energy company and associated companies to undertake their lawful business.  Throughout, we will continue to engage with our communities and other interested parties, explaining our approach and actions.

It is important to note that SYP must also consider and reference rulings, the injunction and the findings and direction from our judicial system.

Liaison Officers

South Yorkshire Police’s liaison officers have been engaged with the local communities and protest groups surrounding the proposed sites. They will continue to be involved acting as a point of contact between protestors and South Yorkshire Police.

Their role is to reach out to residents, community groups and protest groups, listening to concerns and commentary on events associated with this activity.  They will communicate wherever possible with interested parties, describing how and why the police are operating in response to the developing scenario.

How can I keep up-to-date on what is happening?

There are a number of ways you can stay informed about police activity relating to this matter:

  • You can sign up to SYP’s free alert system by visiting sypalerts.co.uk and receive regular updates on local police news, including the information we publish relating to fracking.
  • We have this dedicated area on our website to capture all the information released relating to police activity relating to fracking.