Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Britain's police unions' raise concerns over G8 deployment in Northern Ireland

Riot duty: British police will help guard leaders at G8 meeting
Riot duty: British police will help guard leaders at G8 meeting
Lough Erne Resort will host the G8 summit next year
Lough Erne Resort and Spa

Police Federations in England, Scotland and Wales are to raise "serious" concerns with the Government over the deployment of officers to Northern Ireland to help police the G8 conference.

The PSNI insisted yesterday it will be able to successfully police the major event, despite UK federations advising members not to volunteer until issues over their safety are addressed.

Around 3,000 officers from England, Scotland and Wales are needed to assist the PSNI during the G8 summit at Enniskillen in June.

Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, Steve Williams has said he will be "seeking assurances from Government to ensure the health and welfare" of the officers.

"We want to ensure we support our PSNI colleagues but there are a number of issues we need to raise – including the safety of our officers while posted in Northern Ireland, their anonymity and welfare," Mr Williams said.

The chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, Brian Docherty, said the decision to hold G8 in Northern Ireland was "misinformed" because of the "high threat".

And the West Midlands Police Federation said the current advice to its members is "not to volunteer at this time, until risks have been indemnified for our members". It is understood that the 3,000 officers required from other forces have volunteered to work at the G8.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Alistair Finlay insisted he is confident that the issues can be resolved and that there will be "no shortage of officers to police the G8". There has been "significant interest" from officers across the water in volunteering for the G8 operation, according to the Chief Constable of Kent Police, Ian Learmonth, who is also a member of the Association of Chief Police Officers.

"It is an opportunity to experience a different type of policing. Some information about the operation went out in my own force around a week or so ago and we have been inundated with people coming forward," he said.

Mr Learmont added that the training programme to get officers operationally ready to assist the PSNI during the summit is now "well developed".

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