independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

NI hosting G8 summit 'unbelievable'

Policing in Northern Ireland is 'wholly different' to the rest of the UK, Brian Docherty has said

A senior police representative has questioned the choice of Northern Ireland to host this year's G8 summit, citing the daily pressures officers there already face.

Brian Docherty, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, said he finds it "unbelievable" that such a decision was made by the Government.

Mr Docherty cited recent demonstrations in Belfast and the requirement for officers drafted in from elsewhere in the UK to be trained in the practices of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

"I find it strange that Northern Ireland was chosen as a venue, bearing in mind the amount of pressure and the working conditions that the PSNI is under just now. Officers are under threat every day. It is a whole different form of policing from that we know back in (mainland) UK. To enter G8 into that particular mix, I find it unbelievable. I find it strange that they would do that."

It has been suggested that up to 4,000 officers from England, Wales and Scotland will be needed as world leaders fly in for the meeting in June.

The summit will see US president Barack Obama, Russian president Vladimir Putin, German chancellor Angela Merkel and others gather for two days at Lough Erne golf resort in Co Fermanagh. It will be the first time the annual summit has been held in the UK since Gleneagles in Scotland in 2005.

Violent protests were seen in Belfast earlier this year over the decision to restrict the flying of the Union flag at City Hall. Dozens of police officers were injured in the demonstrations.

Mr Docherty joined Strathclyde Police 20 years ago and was appointed chairman of the federation in February last year. The Glasgow-based Scottish Police Federation negotiates pay, conditions and pensions for its 16,500 members.

The chairman said: "I think that under the circumstances it would have been a bit better planning to hold it elsewhere in the UK."

A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland said: "We are currently working with police colleagues across the United Kingdom to assess the policing needs surrounding the G8 summit in County Fermanagh later this year. It is anticipated that officers from Scotland will form part of the policing response and details are being discussed at the present time."

Press Association

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