COP26 - ACC Ritchie thanks officers and staff for policing locally and nationally during COP26
Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie has reflected on the efforts of officers and staff working to support COP26, as well as those continuing to deliver a policing service to the public.
Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie said:
“Much has been said about the efforts we've gone to in terms of engaging with COP26 organisers and protest leaders to deliver a safe and secure event, ensuring the right to protest -and counter-protest - is upheld, while minimising the disruption to local communities.
“Even as the UK's second largest police service, we still needed help, so Mutual Aid requests were made to 44 police forces across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as the Ministry of Defence Police and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary.
“Our ask was for officers with specific skillsets, such as public order, search and firearms, to come to Scotland and supplement our local and national resources.
"Our colleagues have responded admirably, and we welcomed officers and staff - plus their vehicles, horses and dogs - from across the British Isles.
“Officers from across Scotland have also stepped up and relocated to the west for the duration of this policing operation and we do not underestimate the sacrifices they have made in leaving their homes and families for a significant period of time.
"Other officers and staff have played their part remaining in their local communities, continuing to provide a service to the public.
“Today we have continued to facilitate protest activity and during one protest in the St Vincent Street area it was necessary for officers to use cutting equipment to remove individuals who had attached themselves to lock-on devices.
"Due to the equipment used, it was necessary to create a sterile area for the safety of the protesters, that of the wider public and the officers dealing with the protestors. Two people have been arrested in connection with the lock-on device and one person has been arrested in connection with an alleged vandalism.
“It's fair to say COP26 wouldn't be progressing in the largely positive manner it is without the efforts of thousands of police officers and staff, who've come together from across the United Kingdom in one of the biggest policing operations any of us can remember.
“We are enormously appreciative of how willing people have been to hold open and frank discussions with us and of the consideration which has been shown to the people of Glasgow - and beyond - who have faced upheaval as their daily routines have been disrupted as a result of the conference.
“As a rights-based organisation, we will protect the rights of people who wish to peacefully protest and will balance this against the rights of the wider community. We want to understand the experiences of the public and listen to your views about the way we police events in Scotland. If you have attended a protest or event, if you live near to where events take place, we want to hear what you think about our approach to keeping people safe. You can have your say via a survey on our website."