Nato summit ‘a huge test’ for Gwent Police
7:15am Tuesday 17th December 2013 in News
Portrait of Chief Superintendent Alun Thomas, Force lead for the 2014 NATO Summit in Newport. (2964969)
GWENT Police has begun the first phase of planning ahead of the NATO summit next year which has been called “a massive test” for the force.
Prime Minister David Cameron announced in October that a summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is to meet at the Celtic Manor Resort in 2014.
A strategic group, chaired by chief constable Jeff Farrar, includes representatives from South Wales and Avon and Somerset police forces. Chief Superintendent Alun Thomas, Gwent Police’s lead for the NATO summit, is heading up the planning team and said: “The group will set the tone of what we want to achieve.
“We will need a vast array of different skills that you wouldn’t be able to supply locally.”
For example, the protection side of the operation will be co-ordinated by MET police, while Gwent police will also be required to work with security services such as the US’s secret service.
Public order is one of the main priorities for planning.
The summit is expected to attract thousands of campaigners.
Mr Thomas said: “We will meet with them and seek to facilitate them.”
The security parameter is yet to be decided around the Celtic Manor site, but any road closures will be a decision made by Newport City Council.
“It will have an impact as you would expect, but at the same time, we carry on policing as normal,” said Mr Thomas.
“I’m personally very excited by it. It’s a tremendous opportunity for this force and for Wales to support something of this scale.You don’t get many of these.”
One of the biggest challenges for Mr Thomas will be the logistical organisation of the operation.
“It’s the complexity of it all. There are a lot of aspects – but we’ve got time.”
Speaking before a Police and Crime Panel last week, Mr Farrar said: “To give you some idea of the size of this thing, Number 10 has described it as 10 times as big as the G8 summit.
“The US contingent alone is expected to bring 1,500 people. We are also expecting 15,000 campaigners or protestors.
“Whilst this is a Westminster-run event, we have to present Wales in a positive light.
“The scale of this is absolutely huge. It’s a big honour, but a massive, massive test.”
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