G8: Police working hard as summit approaches

Chief Superintendent Pauline Shields, talking to Fermanagh Herald reporter Ryan Smith about the G8 Summit


THE PSNI have policed events ranging from the visit of the Queen here, to the MTV Awards in Belfast, yet speaking this week, the Chief Superintendent, and Silver Commander for the G8 confirmed: ‘This is bigger’.


Speaking on Monday, Chief Superintendent Pauline Shields described the plans as, ‘quite extensive’.

She also said that up to 2,500 officers from across the UK could descend on Northern Ireland, as part of mutual aid to police the summit and all that will come with it.

“As an organisation, the PSNI have established a centralised team, with a lot of experience and expertise – but it also has very much a local feel,” said Ms Shields.

“And, the responsibility of devising and delivering a plan locally will rest with me. I’m what’s known as the silver commander for the G8 in Fermanagh – so  while it’s an organisation-wide plan, and the plan’s progressing, it very much has a Fermanagh influence.”

The Chief Superintendent also acknowledged that the PSNI will be looking outside the county, including airports, in relation to the arrival of principals and delegates.

“Once the summit was announced back in November, our planning began. And, yes, it has been a very busy time to try and plan for such a major event.

She continued: “In the PSNI, we’ve had any number of large events: we’ve had the royal visit, locally, we’ve delivered Rally Ireland on a couple of occasions, we’d the MTV awards, and policed the Irish Golf Open last year.


“But, this is bigger than any of those.”
Work began back in November for the summit, and Ms Shields described the ‘scale’ of the event being the challenge.

“It will be quite different to any of the events that were policed before.

“The size of it will mean that we will be requiring assistance from other police services in Great Britain so that will bring a slightly different dimension to it.

“We know at Gleneagles when the G8 summit was held in Scotland in 2005, they had access to 10,000 officers in mutual aid. Our estimates at this point in time, are that we’re probably looking at something like a quarter of that number,” she said.

While noting that the responsibility of the G8 sits with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as organisers of the event, Ms Shields said that Police have a, ‘particular role to play around safety and security’.

“Both ourselves as Police, and the Foreign Commonwealth Office, want to make sure, not only can we minimise the disruption  but, also, that we can communicate with people and provide them with information.
“We know it’s going to be an extremely busy time,” she added.

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