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COP26 to call on 10,000 officers

Another huge mutual aid operation is planned for the UN climate change conference in the autumn. Police Scotland will be leading a force of 10,000 officers.

Police Scotland has confirmed forces from across the UK will be providing support for the UN COP26 conference in Glasgow.

The force said the response will dwarf the G7 operation led by Devon and Cornwall last month with 10,000 officers taking part.

There also came a warning for the city’s residents to expect significant disruption.

The UN Conference, taking place from October 31 to 12 November at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, will involve world leaders, charities, diplomats, activists and global business leaders.

Along with the media, there will be thousands of delegates.

Each of Scotland’s 13 divisions and specialist resources, including firearms officers, dog handlers, mounted branch, search teams and the marine unit will be involved.

Joining them will be many of the same teams that supported Devon and Cornwall’s operation.

The force has been liaising with Whitehall departments as well as the Scottish government.

Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr said detailed planning has been under way for more a year.

He said: “This is a significant operation for any police service and will involve one of the biggest mobilisation of police assets the UK has ever seen.

“Police Scotland has a long history of policing major events from the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships, to G8 and state visits. COP26 is no exception and we look forward to playing our part in this historic event.”

Specialist teams were already working to secure the venue and more will be in place for the event.

“A range of specialist police units will be deployed as part of the security operation, including armed officers, mounted police, the marine unit, road policing and air support,” he said.

“We will have visible security measures in place such as CCTV, hostile vehicle barriers, and specialist search officers and dogs will be searching key locations.”

His update was given a further boost by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary.

Its review found policing plans are “progressing well” but warned daily operations would be impacted.

HMICS said: “Given the complexity and challenge of policing Cop26, the size and scale of the event which will put exceptional demand on resources, HMICS believed it to be inevitable there will be an element of disruption in day-to-day policing.”

The Police Federations from both sides of the border have been working with government and Police Scotland for more than five months.

Officer wellbeing and support are the two main issues of concern and contingency plans are already in place.

DCC Kerr said welfare issues had been checked as part of the inspectorate’s review of plans and the feedback had been “very, very positive”.

The force's frontline leadership said they were supporting the leadership and other agencies - and were delighted with progress so far. 

David Hamilton, Chair of the Scottish Police Federation said, “Representatives from all three national Federations have been very much included in the planning and arrangements for the event. 

"The Gold Commander has placed the wellbeing of officers as a key strategic objective and we are working closely to assist the Force in delivering that. 

Even the Federation welfare van that was sent to G7 will me making the journey to Glasgow.

Clive Knight, mutual aid lead for the Fed in England told Police Oracle: “The key thing from the Fed’s perspective is we often get members moaning ‘what does my Fed do for me?’ The big events are a prime example.

“The Fed gets invited in at a very, very early stage. We all work to get early interventions and rectifications before our colleagues on the ground get to hear about it. This is going to be even bigger than G7; there will be a lot more going up there than for anything else this year and we’ll all be working for the wider benefit.”

David Hamilton was optimistic: "He added: "It is reassuring that the opportunity has been taken to learn lessons from past events and we commend the aspiration that COP26 sets a new standard in wellbeing for policing such events.”

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