The head of Scotland’s police force has welcomed confirmation from Boris Johnson that the Government will cover the cost of policing the COP26 climate.
The climate change conference will see thousands of delegates, heads of state and environmental organisations descend on Glasgow in November in what is expected to be one of the biggest and most challenging events for Police Scotland.
Chief Constable Iain Livingstone met with the Prime Minister at Police Scotland’s Tulliallan training college in Fife to discuss how the summit will be policed and to insist that there should be “no detriment” to the force as a result of the 13-day event.
Following the meeting, Johnson said: “We are totally committed to funding the police and to making sure that they have the resources that they need to do what’s necessary.”
Speaking to the PA news agency, Mr Livingstone said: “I was outlining to the Prime Minister the detailed plans that we’ve been working on for many months now.
“It was also underlining to him that, as well as policing COP26, I’ve obviously got a key responsibility to continue to police all the communities of Scotland during this period.
“It was a very positive visit and he also extended his thanks for the work of police officers and police staff right throughout the period of the Covid crisis.”
Mr Livingstone added: “We outlined the fact that there’s going to be significant financial cost and, right from the outset of planning for COP26, I was very clear that there could be no detriment to Police Scotland in terms of funding because if there was a detriment to Police Scotland that would mean there was a detriment to the people of Scotland.
“But we’ve been working very closely with colleagues in the UK government, colleagues in the Scottish Government and I’m very clear that we understand what the costs are and those costs will be met in full.”
An estimated 7000 police officers from other UK forces will assist Police Scotland during the climate summit, although Mr Livingstone stressed the arrangements were “flexible” and numbers could increase or decrease “depending on the specific threat and the specific circumstances that are there”.
Approximately 10,000 officers will be involved daily during the conference, he added.
Asked about how the force would deal with protests at the summit, Mr Livingstone said: “We recognise that environmentalism and the threat to the climate is probably the most dominant global issue that we currently face and therefore people will rightly be protesting.
“I think the United Nations actually encourages protest to raise the prominence and the significance of the issue.
“So our responsibility as a police service – just as we policed the pandemic, just as we police Scotland day in and day out – is to ensure that people have that right of protest, that people’s voices can be heard, but they do so in a way that doesn’t cause harm to others and doesn’t disrupt the safe activity and conclusion of this critical international event.”