G8 summit means PSNI needs 2,000 GB officers

BBC Newsline's home affairs correspondent Vincent Kearney reports

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The full scale of the police operation needed for next year's G8 summit in Northern Ireland has started to emerge.

The PSNI has banned any further applications for holiday leave and is preparing to bring in at least 2,000 officers from other UK police forces.

When Glenagles golf resort in Scotland hosted the G8 summit seven years ago 10,000 police officers were on duty.

In 2013, the Lough Erne golf resort in Enniskillen will welcome the leaders of eight of the world's richest countries.

With them, will come a huge security operation.

PSNI commanders were aware the summit would be held in Fermanagh at the beginning of last month, and had already started make preparations.

They issued a directive restricting leave next summer due to what they called the unprecedented policing operation.

Officers were told that no more than 10% would be allowed to take leave between 10 June and 12 August next year, with priority given to those with school age children.

Two days ago, after Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed Lough Erne as the venue, another directive was issued instructing officers that no further applications for leave will be considered during those dates.

Even with the restrictions on leave, the PSNI will need help from other police forces under what is called an agreement for mutual aid.

Thousands of officers will be needed to provide security at and around the Lough Erne resort and along a number of major routes to the venue.

The police also expect to have to deal with the kind of large scale protests held at venues that host the G8 summit, like in Glenagles.

lough erne resort aerial view The Lough Erne hotel and golf resort is to host the summit

It is believed that at least 2,000 officers will be brought in from other police forces.

They will include public order units to deal with any violent protests and specialist search teams.

Given that the World Police and Fire Games are expected to attract 25,000 visitors from 70 countries to Northern Ireland next August, many officers face having no holiday during the summer.

They have been told they can carry over leave to the following year.

In a statement, the PSNI said mutual aid arrangements were a "key part" of contingency planning by all UK police forces in dealing with exceptional circumstances.

"There is nothing new about mutual aid and it is enabled by specific legislation and the new Strategic Policing Requirement," the police said.

"It would be remiss of the PSNI not to have contingency plans in place in order to deal with such exceptional circumstances should they arise, which is why we participate in the ACPO Interoperability Programme.

"The PSNI have both received and provided specialist assistance under these arrangements and have trained and exercised with a number of police forces in the UK."

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