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‘Fourth-biggest UK force’ put together for G7 summit

One of the biggest mutual aid logistics operations mounted by a police force is set to begin as Cornwall hosts the G7 summit next week. Officers staying away from home can claim overnight and a hardship allowance if their accommodation isn't up to scratch.

Devon and Cornwall is leading the biggest security event of the year as world leaders gather in Carbis Bay from Friday June 11.

Months of planning and training are over as 6,500 officers and 150 police dogs begin conference duty across a cordon that stretches between two coastlines.

Of those, 5,000 have been drafted in under mutual aid from force across the country –creating the fourth biggest force in the country for three days.

The command team are coordinating activity on a scale not seen since the 2012 Olympics.

The force’s Federation Chair, Andy Berry, explained: “The team, which has included our federated members, has put together the fourth biggest force in the country, including logistics in the space of a few months. That’s been a massive task which they’ve undertaken.”

The main venue is a hotel near St Ives with an overflow for conference officials in the town. Media events are being based in Falmouth and helicopter arrivals with political leaders are happening at Newquay Airport.

Hundreds of hotel rooms have been block booked and a cruise ship has been charted from Estonia to accommodate 1,000 officers in Falmouth.

Police officers working at the G7 Summit will be able to claim an overnight allowance of £50 a night, after Devon and Cornwall Police Federation argued the case for its implementation.

All mutual aid officers and local officers who are staying away from home and held in reserve during the G7 Summit will receive the Away from Home Overnight Allowance for each night they are away.

Officers will get an extra £30 on top for Hardship Allowance if ‘proper accommodation’ is not provided – the definition of proper accommodation is a single occupancy room with ensuite bathroom facilities.

Devon and Cornwall Police Federation Secretary Jim Purkiss said: “It’s a good result for us, as initially the operation didn’t think it would be able to pay the allowance to officers. We made representations to the GOLD commander that by paying the allowance, it not only supported the wellbeing of officers but also the policing operation.

“It’s a massive win because historically things like this haven’t always been a given. So I think it’s a great achievement for us to influence the force, for the benefit of them and our members.

“We reminded the operation that by holding officers in reserve and available for immediate deployment, would assisted the force dealing with any unknown Policing requirements, especially with the geography of the force area.”

The guidance around providing overnight allowance for officers on mutual aid operation is that is it is discretionary, but the Federation persuaded the operation to implement it, not just for mutual aid officers but also for local officers who would need to stay away from home.

Supt Jo Hall, who is part of the planning team, said it was a complex event for policing but arrangements were in place for every officer.

She told Police Oracle: “We've got briefing centres and every mutual aid officer - and those that are operationally deployed from Devon and Cornwall - will be processed through a briefing centre. That briefing centre is where we give the officers and operational briefing.

“So we tell them where you need to be what you want to do. And the style in which we want you to do it. Because Devon and Cornwall are a neighbourhood policing team.”

They will be covering hundreds of miles and coordinating vehicles has been a key issue with visiting officers being briefed that this will be an element of operations.

Supt Hall said: “Because our force area is so large, you inevitably will have some travel and if you do come from a smaller force, and that may be different for you. But what we're doing to minimise travel is we are centrally coordinating all our travels to get officers in and out of venues.

“We are also making sure that we've got shift patterns so that officers have got time to have rest, and that we're putting significant catering hubs in place to make sure that they're well rested, and they're well looked after.”

Devon and Cornwall’s gold command team will also be working with officials from the Cabinet Office, Special Branch and Cornwall Council plus liaising with the security details from six countries.

Firearms officer Inspector Greg Hodgkiss told Police Oracle: “It's going be fairly tricky, but we've got a decent team involved. Lots of planning has gone into it and lots of liaison beforehand.

“There's no specific threat. But because of the location, because you've got world leaders, you've got their diplomatic and their political entourages as well, this presents its own set of challenges too.”

He added: “It's just making sure that, as far as possible, we've planned for as many contingencies as we can. In terms of specifics again, I won't go into too much, but everything has been looked it.

Another element to the operation will be ensuring visitor attractions that have been badly-hit by COVID-19 are able to remain open for the beginning of a very busy tourist season due to the international travel restrictions.

Insp Hodgkiss said: “This summer, we're likely to have the busiest summer we've ever had in Cornwall. That obviously adds problems to your operation with the amount of tourists they're going to be there.

“Without a doubt, it's challenging. And because obviously, we've recently come out of lockdown with potentially coming into a time where a lot the population going to look to the southwest to come down for holidays and the like. It's something we have to factor in. But it's certainly not beyond us. And as I say, a lot of talented, clever people are involved in that and taking it into account.”

It's been a round-the-clock effort as most of the pre-event work could not start until the beginning of the year due to the need for secrecy.

Fed Chair Andy Berry said: “The force was briefed in October but we weren’t able to talk about it or do planning until the New Year. You couldn’t ring a hotel and book rooms for people because that would give the game away.”

Supt Jo Hall said the joint work since the venue was announced had been detailed and the force was ready to deliver G7 policing.

She said: “We will be policing land, sea and air over the biggest leasing and security event in England in 2021. And in a pandemic, that's never been done before. And we're really proud to be able to host that, and we're absolutely confident that we are ready to deliver a safe and secure event.”

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