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Unions give officers go-ahead to police G8

Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland Matt Baggott
Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland Matt Baggott

Police unions in England and Wales have lifted their opposition to officers being deployed to Northern Ireland during the G8 conference.

Earlier this year some police federations advised members not to volunteer for the major security operation amid concerns over the severe terrorist threat.

But fears over security, training, uniform and insurance have since been resolved after talks between the PSNI, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Government. Around 3,000 officers from across Britain will now be deployed for the June summit.

Gardai will also assist the PSNI during the event, which is to be held at the Lough Erne resort in Fermanagh from June 17-18.

Specialist training for those officers being deployed from England and Wales began on Monday.

The Police Federation of England and Wales confirmed that the issues of concern over the deployment "have been raised with the appropriate bodies... many of which have been satisfactorily addressed or are in the process of being sorted".

It added: "We are working to ensure officers deployed for the event... have all issues dealt with to ensure the smooth and successful running of the event for all involved."

Officers have been advised by the federation not to discuss their deployment on social media sites because of the security risks.

In an update to its members it warned officers: "Please be sensitive to the different security risks associated with your deployment in Northern Ireland. Please refrain from discussing your deployment in any open forum and particularly on social media. Loose talk costs lives. This is strongly advised by your colleagues in the Police Federation of Northern Ireland."

PSNI Police Federation chairman Terry Spence also warned that any comments on social media in respect of G8 could compromise the policing operation.

He said: "We would ask our colleagues throughout Great Britain to refrain from discussing the matter – terrorists closely monitor these channels and will seek information."

Chief Constable Matt Baggott was in Fermanagh earlier this week for a briefing on some of the security preparations taking place ahead of the summit.

He said he was impressed with the detail going into the planning: "This is a wonderful opportunity for Fermanagh and Northern Ireland as a whole. I am confident we can deliver a safe and secure event and this will be due in no small part to the professionalism and commitment of my colleagues in both the planning team and those deployed operationally," he said.

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