POLICE have vowed to maintain a strong presence at a Metgasco CSG test drilling site at Doubtful Creek following the arrests of at least 11 protesters at the site this week.

Richmond Local Area Command Acting Superintendent Michael Dempsey refused to say how many police were sent to the protest site yesterday as it was deemed an operational matter.

While estimates varied greatly, Northern Star staff at Doubtful Creek counted at least 40 police.

"Police from the Richmond Local Area Command as well as Northern Region support units are assisting in the operation," he said.

"Everyone has the lawful right to protest as long as they are not committing offences and they obey all reasonable directions given by police."

Acting Superintendent Dempsey said the costs for police resources maintaining the safety of protesters and allowing lawful access to the Metgasco site came from the Richmond LAC operations budget.

Police have come under criticism from protesters in the community and on Facebook for deploying so many officers to Doubtful Creek following the recent spate of armed robberies in the region.

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