London’s Metropolitan Police have spent substantial amounts of money past their budget to arrest and imprison Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists this past year. XR wanted activists to get arrested to overburden the system to make government listen and it’s working.
From April until October of 2019 Met police spent $14,000 dollars on vegan food alone as they arrested activists by the thousands. Part of XR’s strategy was to “take police resources to the breaking point” and they’ve succeeded.
The Met’s Violent Crime Taskforce has an annual budget of $15 million a year yet it’s estimated that the protests from the Extinction Rebellion for a few short periods this year cost the department over $40 million dollars.
That enormous amount of over budget spending went to tens of thousands of police officers shifts and their overtime to deal with the massive amounts of protestors.
Making all of that even more costly is that in November the High Court ruled in favor of XR against the Met Police banning their London wide protesting was unlawful. This ruling has opened up the ability for XR and individuals in XR to sue the government for millions of dollars worth of compensation for police taking those unlawful actions.
As with every movement that has used civil disobedience as a tactic Extinction Rebellion is winning and they are just getting started. 2020 will be bigger and more costly for police and government as this movement grows larger by the day.