COP26: Officers were deployed with just three weeks’ training

Police officers with just three weeks’ training were on duty during the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

A portion of the 140 officers were sent to Glasgow for the summit, while others were deployed around Scotland to offer support, according to the justice and social affairs magazine 1919.

Probationary officers are usually given 12 weeks of training before deployment.

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The senior officer accompanying the probationer told the magazine: “I’ve got 15 years in the job and I’ve been a tutor for seven or eight years, and it’s only really when resources are rock bottom.

“She and a lot of others have just been punted out after three weeks and the only thing they know about the law is their common sense.”

Police response

Deputy chief officer David Page, who oversees staffing at Police Scotland, said: “We utilised 140 probationers undergoing officer training with Police Scotland during the COP26 policing operation.

“The majority were sent to our local policing divisions and departments around the country and were tasked with assisting business as usual, while others were deployed to work specifically at COP26.

“This is not the first instance of deploying probationers to assist with major policing operations, as a number of probationers were deployed last year to assist in the early stages of our response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“These recruits had all received instruction in core policing skills, first aid and officer safety training prior to being deployed, and the skillset and readiness of each officer was taken into account.

“They were accompanied on deployment by experienced officers.”

David Hamilton, the chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, said: “Nobody would choose for officers with just three weeks’ training to be deployed in an operational environment.

“This, however, is policing in 21st-century Scotland where we simply can’t afford not to use every resource that we have.

“I was surprised to meet a number of these probationers at COP26 as they were only ever meant to be backfilling in ‘business-as-usual’ – but they were being well looked after by their colleagues and I’m sure will have picked up some important skills and experiences.”