Northern Ireland

G8 summit in Fermanagh most secure ever - Matt Baggott

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Media captionChief Constable Matt Baggott paid tribute to those involved

Chief Constable Matt Baggott has said the G8 summit in Enniskillen was "the most peaceful and secure" in history.

Four thousand seven hundred PSNI officers, along with 3,600 from other UK forces, were deployed in the summit operation at a cost of about £60m.

Mr Baggott thanked his officers and the public for their assistance during the two-day event.

He said many protesters did not come because of the PSNI's reputation for dealing with public disorder.

The chief constable also said the summit took place during a "severe terrorist threat".

The summit of most of the world's most powerful politicians was held at the Lough Erne resort on Monday and Tuesday.

Over the weekend and the two days of the gathering there were two G8-related arrests.

The chief constable said: "The (security) investment has proven itself to be more than worthwhile. We made planning assumptions based on previous G8s.

"I wouldn't do anything differently if we started again.

Image caption Officers from other UK forces who aided the police operation return home

"There were people that wanted to come here and violently protest. The fact that they didn't has been due to the policing."

Early police estimates of the number of protesters expected in Belfast and near the summit venue in County Fermanagh turned out to be inaccurate.

They had predicted tens of thousands could turn up, but, only a few thousand people are estimated to have taken part in protests in Belfast and Enniskillen before and during the summit.

The officers from the other UK forces have now returned to their own regions.

Northern Ireland Justice Minister David Ford also praised the policing operation.

"There has been some ill-informed and narrow-minded criticism comparing the level of the security arrangements with the low levels of protest," Mr Ford said.

"Had we not prepared properly and trouble ensued, the reputational damage to Northern Ireland would have been many times the policing cost.

"Compared to previous G8 meetings we had incredibly positive images being broadcast around the world and this can only enhance our international standing."

However, political activist Eamon McCann said the police preparations were "so far over the top that they were almost out of sight".

"I can say as a fact that there was no intelligence that anybody could have obtained, including the PSNI, to suggest that there was going to be anything like the numbers in Enniskillen that the police were predicting.

"It's not money worth spent, it's anything but."

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