'Not quite a perfect storm' - World Cup, Trump and Latitude Festival to stretch Suffolk policing
PUBLISHED: 17:41 10 July 2018 | UPDATED: 06:41 11 July 2018
Suffolk's police officers expect to be tested to the limits this week as a trio of events combine to bring more pressures on an already stretched workforce.
Tonight’s England World Cup match together with Suffolk’s policing support for Donald Trump’s visit to the UK and preparations for the weekend’s Latitude Festival had seen officers’ leave cancelled - though that has since been reinstated.
Darren Harris, branch chairman of the Suffolk Police Federation, said: “We are feeling the pressure. I wouldn’t say it’s the perfect storm, that’s not quite here yet, but we are at the limits of the pre-planned operations that we can do, particularly in terms of officer welfare.”
Mr Harris said many officers had already been working extended shifts without leave and the cancellation of rest time was happening “all too often”.
Officers from forces around the country have been drafted in to increase security during The US President’s two-day visit to the UK this week. Thousands of people are expected to attend marches in London and Scotland to coincide with Mr Trump’s visit on Thursday and Friday.
Suffolk Constabulary has not confirmed how many officers will be sent to the capital, but Mr Harris said trained riot police were among those attending.
Extra officers had already been drafted in to tackle anti-social behaviour following England’s victory against Sweden in the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday afternoon – and more are expected for tonight’s game against Croatia.
Mr Harris said that while policing such events was “a bit of an unknown” he hoped there was going to be a “party atmosphere”.
“People should be able to enjoy themselves and hopefully, if it goes well, the police officers can enjoy it with them, without incident,” he added.
A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said police demands varied widely, but plans were in place to provide efficient and effective policing.
“Separate policing operations for the World Cup and Latitude are in place, and if we need to flex and redeploy resources between the two operations to respond to incidents we will do so,” he added. “In light of deployment arrangements being clearer for the visit of Donald Trump, a decision has been made to lift the cancellation of leave for Suffolk officers and we are pleased to be able to reinstate these days.”