Nato security will 'disrupt Newport transport' - police
Updated 4:35pm Saturday 21st June 2014 in News
THE SHEER size of security surrounding the Nato summit in Newport will cause travel disruption in and around the city, Gwent Police’s chief said yesterday.
During a meeting of the Gwent Police and Crime Panel in Newport, chief constable Jeff Farrar said as many as 150 “protected people” will visit the city in September.
He said he also feared the police force would not be left with a lasting “legacy” if all goes to plan, and the accolades will go to London.
Strict security measures will be put in place in the city ahead of the summit set to be attended by world leaders including US President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande.
Thousands of delegates and journalists from all over the world are also due to attend.
Mr Farrar promised a clear transport plan, but said any detailed announcements were being delayed by organisers in London.
Mr Farrar said: “There’s going to be an unprecedented amount of protected people – there will be 150 at the summit. We’ve got to take them from the Celtic Manor to Cardiff for dinners – we can’t fly them all in. It is going to cause disruption but I can’t make any public announcements on transport plans yet because that’s a case for the foreign and commonwealth office.
“There are normally 200 or 300 police officers patrolling the streets in Gwent every day but there will be thousands.”
More than 50 schools across Newport could close when the summit begins at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 4, just four days into the school term.
Mr Farrar recognised the frustrations of Newport citizens and local authorities due to the lack of clear instructions on the transport plan, but said: “I’ve been very forceful in my discussions to get an answer on this – it’s only 10 weeks away.
“This event is being run by Westminster in Wales and the look and feel of it is set by Number 10 and they call the shots, really. The legacy of this event might be for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and London, but we will be the ones left with ‘I couldn’t take my child to school’. That legacy will be left with the police.”
Chief Superintendent Alun Thomas, who attended a liaison with Newport community councils on Thursday evening, said one of Gwent Police’s objectives was to keep life as normal as possible for residents.
He said: “If you think about the  Olympics, people were deterred from going to London and then, when they realised the impact they returned.
“We want people to be able to carry on with their normal lives.”
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