SECURITY at the upcoming G8 international summit in Co Fermanagh this summer will have to be on a scale not seen before in Northern Ireland.
The much-heralded two-day summit will be attended by US President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and our UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
This annual summit has not been held in the UK since Gleneagles, Scotland in 2005 and the Police Service of Northern Ireland is tasked with overseeing the mammoth security and policing arrangements.
The PSNI will be aided by secondment of 4,000 police officers from constabularies in England, Scotland and Wales, but, disappointingly, siren voices are emerging in mainland police federations, highly critical and dismissive of the decision to hold the summit in this part of the UK.
The carping criticism is unfairly aimed at the PSNI’s perceived “inability” to successfully manage this unprecedented security operation, but with nearly 3,000 officers from other forces in Britain already volunteering for service, there is reassurance that the necessary security will be in place. Indeed, the initial request for additional mainland officers is oversubscribed.
The security operation will be the largest the PSNI has ever mounted, with, overall, 5,000 officers on duty at strategic sites across the Province.
There is a long and proud tradition of excellent policing in Northern Ireland, predating the PSNI for 70 years with the great sacrifice of the gallant men and women of the RUC. The PSNI is a police force that can be very favourably compared with other UK constabularies and there is every confidence they will rise to the occasion this summer.