Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Police: we're ready for G8

A ring of steel is being erected on the A46 Lough Shore Road in preparation for the upcoming G8 Summit at the Lough Erne Resort
A ring of steel is being erected on the A46 Lough Shore Road in preparation for the upcoming G8 Summit at the Lough Erne Resort

Police are “fully prepared” for the G8 summit and any potential disorder caused by tens of thousands of protesters expected to gatecrash the event, according to the PSNI chief constable.

Matt Baggott has also confirmed he has received a written assurance that most of the costs relating to policing the G8 will be picked up by the UK Treasury.

And it has been revealed the 3,600 police officers from other forces who will be working alongside the PSNI during the G8 will be subject to the Police Ombudsman here for any complaints.

At the Policing Board’s monthly meeting in Belfast yesterday, Mr Baggott updated members on police preparations ahead of the summit.

Mr Baggott said he told a conference on the G8 earlier this week that even the police’s preparations for the event were subject to scrutiny by the Policing Board.

“G8 is rapidly approaching and I want to thank again Alistair (Finlay, assistant chief constable) and his colleagues for their relentless efforts in a very short space of time to make this very, very important summit a success,” said Mr Baggott.

“Again, my assurances there has been meticulous planning, comprehensive training and we have the necessary resources to deal with this whatever the eventualities. It’s a huge opportunity to showcase all that’s good about Northern Ireland and its future, we intend to play a very full part in that in showcasing all that’s good about policing.”

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Much of Northern Ireland is expected to go into lockdown.

Tens of thousands of protesters will take part in demonstrations against the G8 across Northern Ireland. Organisers of the marches have called on troublemakers to stay away.

When the G8 was last held in the UK, more than 200,000 protesters gathered. Over the course of the event at Gleneagles in 2005, there were 700 arrests after fierce clashes between some protesters and police. An extra 3,600 specially-trained public order police officers are being drafted in to help bolster the 7,000 PSNI members and the military will provide air security for VIPs.

A ring of steel has been erected to keep anti-capitalist protesters away from the luxury Lough Erne golf resort and roads into and out of the area will be closed.

Anne Connolly, chair of the Policing Board, welcomed the announcement policing costs will be picked up by the UK Treasury.

Sinn Fein had feared the PSNI would have to cover the policing bill, estimated to be around £50m.

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