British police are preparing one of their most unprecedented security operations, involving water cannons and summary hearings, for next weekâ„¢s G8 summit in Northern Ireland.
Police Service of Northern Ireland district commander Chief Superintendent Pauline Shields said more than 8,000 officers are being dispatched to Northern Ireland to help local police in the security operations.
The arrangements include a daunting four-mile security fence around the Lough Erne Golf Resort that will host the summit on Monday and Tuesday next week, while another barbed wire barrier is being set up outside the area.
The police have also deployed several mobile water cannons to frighten off potential protesters with a seven-mile area of the Lough Erne lake itself being closed down and patrolled by police boats.
“I would say the scale of the G8 in Northern Ireland is the biggest operation that the Police Service of Northern Ireland has ever had to deal with and probably as big as any police service throughout the UK would have dealt with,” Shields said.
This comes as she dismissed concerns that the police are gearing up a heavy-handed response to any protests outside the summit venue.
Police say they have made 260 extra prison cells available in nearby Omagh, Country Tyrone, and in the Northern Irish capital of Belfast, while sixteen judges will be on standby to hold summary hearings for arrested demonstrators.
But Shields claimed the measures are only meant to Å“facilitate” peaceful protests.
Å“We will have a policing operation in place that will facilitate peaceful protest…. We believe there may be a small minority of people who may be intent on causing disorder – we would ask people to abide by the law and if they break the law, then we will be in a position to deal robustly with them,” she said.
This article originally appeared on: Press TV