Argyll officers to play ‘pivotal role’ in policing COP26

Inspector Paul Collins is proud his Argyll colleagues will assist with the policing of COP26

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Police officers from across Argyll will be deployed to Glasgow when the city hosts the United Nations climate change conference.

Running from October 31 to November 12, the COP26 summit will be the largest and most complex policing operation in the history of UK policing.

It will require the services of 10,000 officers each day covering a range of roles, including armed police, public order officers, mounted police, road policing, police dogs as well as conventional front line officers.

Lochgilphead and Campbeltown Community Inspector Paul Collins said: ‘From an Argyll point of view, we are extremely proud that some of our local officers, well-known in our communities, will be playing a pivotal role in an operation which will be firmly in view of the world.

‘Given the fantastic relationship that our officers enjoy with the public here, they will be able to take those skills and use them to interact with the public and colleagues to a high standard, representing Argyll with distinction.’

The Police Scotland officers will be supplemented by mutual aid officers from other UK police forces, British Transport Police, the Ministry of Defence and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary.

With more than 120 politicians and heads of state, including HM the Queen, Pope Francis and US President Joe Biden, due to attend, concerns have been raised about potential impact on routine policing across Scotland.

The police watchdog HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) said: ‘Given the scale of COP26 and the implications for policing, not only in Glasgow but across the country, it is reasonable to expect that there will be exceptional demand on resources and for the conference period an element of disruption to business as usual policing.’

HMICS reported earlier in the summer that there had been a sense of frustration at the speed at which information was available to enable local policing to develop tactical plans.

Gill Imery, chief inspector of Constabulary in Scotland, said: ‘We acknowledge that there has been some uncertainty around the final format of the event, the impact of the pandemic and the number of international attendees.

‘The consequence being that many of the local policing plans are still at an early stage of development.

‘It will place significant demands across policing and necessitate the largest mass mobilisation of police officers that has taken place in the UK in many years.’

A full business-as-usual planning team has been established to ensure that local policing does not suffer as a result of the abstraction of officers.

Inspector Collins continued: ‘As part of the business-as-usual plan, communities can be assured that they will still receive the highest level of local policing they expect and are used to.

‘Our officers will continue to be as dedicated and professional as ever, to ensure we continue to keep Argyll a safe and secure place to live, work and visit.’