HOSTING the NATO summit is a “huge coup” for Newport, but residents should brace for temporary disruption, a senior policeman said.
Chief superintendent Alun Thomas is coordinating Newport’s arm of the policing operation which will see officers drafted in from around the UK for the two-day summit, on September 4-5. .
Speaking at a ward meeting in Caerleon earlier this month, Mr Thomas described how politicians, journalists and protesters would descend on the Celtic Manor Resort for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) summit, among them president of the USA Barack Obama.
Chief Superintendent Thomas said: “It puts Wales on the map and very much puts Newport and certain areas including Caerleon on the map.
“It’s a huge coup, but it does come with consequences for those living in the area, for a fairly restricted period of time.”
He told Caerleon residents at the meeting: “I cannot pretend to you that you will not be affected.
“There’s an element of having to live with it for a very short period.”
Some roads in Caerleon would be closed, but residents would be able to get in and out of their homes after “a process of accreditation”.
Roads in Caerleon which will be affected by traffic controls include Pillmawr Road and Belmont Hill, while Langstone will also experience disruption.
Nato summits have in the past been magnets for protest, with clashes between police and protesters at Chicago’s summit in 2012.
Chief Superintendent Thomas said: “A lot of people have legitimate concerns and we have to facilitate peaceful protest.
“We will make very clear what we do not regard as peaceful protest.”
He assured residents that the Home Office would be footing the bill for the operation rather than Newport City Council, and said the force was in talks with the University of South Wales about temporary accommodation for officers from other areas in university buildings.
He added that Gwent Police aimed to “minimise harm or disruption to the public” while also shutting down on opportunities for harm through “disorder, criminality and anti-social behaviour.”