AN EXTRA 3,600 police officers are being flown into Northern Ireland as part of the security operation for the G8 Summit.
Along with this there will be support from the London Olympics security firm G4S and military assistance.
The International event, being held at the Lough Erne Resort outside Enniskillen will be one of the largest police operations to ever take place here and was discussed at length at a press conference at Hillsborough Castle today (Thursday).
At the press conference it was also confirmed by Secretary of State Theresa Villiers that there will be ‘additional miliary assistance’, which will partly come in the form of Helicopter escorts for the World Leaders. Additional military helicopters will be provided in June, by way of extra security.
In regards to protests Chief Constable Matt Baggott said they are expecting protests in Belfast and explained there were already protests planned regarding fracking in Enniskillen.
“It’s still a work in progress and we’re monitoring that very carefully,” Mr Baggott explained.”We have planned for every eventuality” he said and explained police would ‘facilitate lawful protest’, but that they would be prepared for those that come with other intentions.
It was also confirmed that protesters would not get into the site of the Lough Erne and that efforts were being made to make sure the leaders were not disrupted and said it was the police’s responsibility to maintain stability.
Ahead of the Summit Mr Baggott revealed that there had been close discussions held with Canadian and American representatives as they recently held a summit and have offered advice, describing the Canadians as ‘critical friends’
“We’re drawing from their experience, especially the Canadians who have been very useful.”
The resounding message from both Matt Baggott and Assistant Chief Constable Alistair Finlay though was one of confidence with Mr Baggot saying he would be doing everything to ensure “it was the most successful G8 summit in history”.
There has also been a thumbs up from the organisers of security around the 2012 London Olympics, with Theresa Villiers saying that after an assessment of the security they were ‘very impressed’. G4S will also provide support at the summit in the form of 450 employees for the event.
When asked about the possibility of world leaders getting the chance to have a pint in Blakes, visit Belleek pottery or take a walk around Crom Alastair Finlay explained there may be outside visits, but more information would be known closer to time.
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