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Boris Johnson in police funding pledge ahead of Cop26 summit

·3 min read

Boris Johnson has promised “all the money that is needed” will be given to fund the thousands of officers required to police the global Cop26 climate summit taking place in Glasgow later this year.

With leaders coming in from across the world for the crucial climate change talks, Mr Johnson said about 10,000 officers a day will be required at the event and he is “totally committed” to funding the operation.

The Prime Minister discussed the policing of the summit with senior officers from Police Scotland – including Chief Constable Iain Livingstone – at the start of his two-day visit to Scotland on Wednesday.

Mr 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. We think that there’ll be about 10,000 a day.”

He said police in Scotland will be supported by about 7,000 officers from elsewhere in the UK.

He stressed work will be carried out to ensure police operations continue to take place normally during the summit.

The Prime Minister said it is important “we don’t have a situation in which all the officers from around the country are sucked into one big operation”.

Speaking to reporters at Police Scotland’s Tulliallan training college in Fife, Mr Johnson continued: “We’ve got to make sure that policing takes place normally throughout the whole of the UK during the Cop26 summit in November, so we’ll be putting all the money that’s needed to make sure that happens.”

He said the UK Government is “continuing to work with the Scottish Government” on preparations for the summit.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson met senior officers at the Scottish Police College (James Glossop/The Times/PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson met senior officers at the Scottish Police College (James Glossop/The Times/PA)

Mr Johnson added he is “always delighted” to work with Holyrood ministers – but Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said earlier it is “strange” that he had refused her offer to have talks in Edinburgh.

Ms Sturgeon had wanted to meet the Prime Minister at her official residence, Bute House, saying his refusal to meet her is a “missed opportunity”, but adding “that’s on him”.

She told broadcasters: “This would be the first opportunity, given Covid, for us to sit down, appropriately socially distanced, and have a face-to-face chat. I think it would have been a good opportunity.

“I was getting ready to welcome him to Bute House today. There’s lots that Boris Johnson and I fundamentally disagree on but we both lead governments that are trying to get our countries through Covid and so there’s a lot for us to co-operate on.”

In letter to Ms Sturgeon, the Prime Minister said that while he is “keen to arrange an in-person meeting” it had previously been agreed to set up “a structured forum for ongoing engagement between the Government and the devolved administrations” in the UK

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The Prime Minister’s visit to Scotland comes just days after Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said the UK Government would not stand in the way of a second independence referendum if it is the “settled will” of the Scottish people.

But Mr Gove stressed: “I just don’t think that it is right, and the public don’t think it is right, to ask that question at the moment.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is also in Scotland, where he is focusing on the fight against climate change in the run-up to Cop26.

Sir Keir has accused the Prime Minister of being “missing in action” on the climate agenda ahead of the summit.

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