A freedom of information request obtained by the Daily Mail has revealed that the Metropolitan police spent nearly £14,000 last year feeding Extinction Rebellion (XR) protesters who were held in custody.
During the autumn protests in which the XR protesters were declaring an ecological and climate emergency between 30th September and 17th October, there were 1832 arrests of whom 150 were charged. The total cost of vegan meals during that period were £4,651.09.
Inspector Brian Smith of Brixton Police Station revealed in October that the Metropolitan Police had ordered extra vegan meals for the protests. XR protesters had previously complained about the lack of vegan options.
The figure has been revealed in the mainstream media as something of a curiosity. That ecologically minded protesters have a preponderance of vegans amongst them should not come as any great surprise. No doubt had the protesters been “more normal” the Metropolitan Police would have spent much the same amount on chicken tikka, chicken korma and spicy chicken with rice – a more normal menu on offer for those in custody.
Cheap to feed Extinction Rebellion vegan protesters
This figure probably represents reasonable value for money. Assuming that all the protesters ate vegan meals, which is unlikely to be the case, the cost was a mere £2.53 each. That’s not bad value assuming that each protester was only fed just the once time. This presumably was unlikely since the protesters had vowed to “break police resources to breaking point”. Their stated tactics were to cause “maximum disruption” as part of the planned civil disobedience. One specific planned tactic was to overwhelm police custody capacity. So if a significant number of protesters did, in fact, refuse bail after being arrested, then the conclusion must be that the vegans in custody proved to be remarkably cheap to feed!
Animal Rebellion, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, occupied the Smithfield meat market during the protests.
The cost of some £14,000 on vegan meals for those in custody in a one year period, of course, pales by comparison with the cost of policing the protests. In April alone these were said to be £16 million – the approximate equivalent of the annual salaries of 600 police officers.
From 5th to 16th October some 7,929 Met officers were used to combat the protests in addition to another 1,000 sent from 35 outside forces.
So perhaps the lesson is that the dietary habits of eco-warriors are actually good for the planet and excellent value for money!