Police Scotland reveals plans for one of the UK’s biggest policing operations to support COP26
Around 10,000 officers will be deployed each day during the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, one of the largest policing operations undertaken in Britain.
Officers will be drafted from all divisions across Scotland, supported by a substantial number of colleagues from other UK police services as part of mutual aid arrangements.
The huge security operation involves local policing officers from each of Scotland’s 13 divisions and specialist resources, including firearms officers, dog handlers, mounted branch, search teams and the marine unit.
COP26, the United Nations 26th Conference of the Parties, is an annual summit organised by the UN where world leaders and thousands of delegates come together to tackle climate change issues.
This year’s event takes place from October 31 to 12 November at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow.
Deputy Chief Constable Will Kerr said detailed planning has been under way for more than a year and Police Scotland was well prepared for the unique challenges presented by COP26.
DCC Kerr said: “COP26 will see world leaders, delegates, businesses, civil society groups and activists from all over the world come to Glasgow to discuss the future of our planet and take action on climate change.
“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.
“Police Scotland is a rights-based organisation and has a duty under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) to protect the rights of people who wish to peacefully protest or counter-protest, balanced against the rights of the wider community.
“We will provide a proportionate policing response to any protests and will seek to engage with known protest groups to ensure their rights to peaceful assembly and protest are met.
“Those wishing to protest have a responsibility to do so within the law and I would remind the small minority of people who may be intent on violent disorder or causing damage that we will deal with them swiftly and robustly.
“As part of our operation, we will implement a variety of security measures to ensure that people living in, working in, or visiting Glasgow feel safe.
“Police counter terrorist security advisors are already assessing venues and other locations associated with the event to consider any risks.
“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.
“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.
“While there is no specific threat relating to the event, we will be prepared for any eventuality.”
Planning for COP26 has been under way for over a year, with officers and staff working closely with partners from United Nations, UK Government, Glasgow City Council, other emergency services and local resilience partners across Scotland.
DCC Kerr said: “With an event of this scale, disruption is inevitable but we are working with partners to keep this to a minimum.
“Our policing operation is focussed on the delivery of a safe and secure event but a considerable part of our planning is to ensure that the communities of Scotland continue to receive the same high standard of service to which they are accustomed.
“Our response to incidents and day-to-day demand will not be compromised by the policing of COP26.
“While the policing of an event of this size puts incredible demand on our resources. The strength of our national police service allows us the flexibility to ensure that our communities will receive the same very high standards of service during this fortnight.
“Local policing officers will continue to police local communities and I would encourage members of the public to speak to those officers to raise any concerns.”
The policing operation for COP26 will be active and on the streets long before the opening of the conference and Police Scotland is encouraging the public to play their part by reminding them to be vigilant and report anything that seems out of place or unusual.
DCC Kerr added: “There will be a significantly enhanced police and security presence in and around the city in advance of and during COP26.
“Officers will be engaging with members of our communities to help them plan ahead and stay safe, and reminding them of how they can help.”