Police performed largest security operation in the force’s history
- Credit: PA
What an exciting few days it has been for residents of Cornwall and our police officers.
The surreal sight of President Joe Biden’s armoured motorcade driving through Chiverton roundabout marked the start of a summit which saw some of the most powerful people in the world gathering in little Carbis Bay.
Yes there was some disruption, yes, it would have been simpler to arrange the event somewhere more familiar to conference organisers and yes, the far west of Cornwall does not have the best transport links.
However, what an opportunity, firstly for the Government to show that it is serious about the ‘levelling up’ agenda that will see more attention and investment focussed on the UK’s regions, and for businesses to show off what a fantastic prospect investing in the West of England is.
But also it was a chance for Devon and Cornwall to show off its policing style. Around 5,000 officers and additional staff came first to Middlemoor police headquarters in Exeter, and then on to Cornwall, from around the UK to help the force manage the largest security operation in the force’s history.
As the conference got under way I made it my job to get around and see my own VIPs. My tour started in Plymouth, where mini police cadets were handed certificates for completing their course. These Cathedral School children have been engaged by the Stonehouse Neighbourhood Policing Team as part of the Stronger North Stonehouse project.
Later that evening the Chief Constable and I visited some of the police officers in Falmouth and were delighted to find a relaxed and happy cohort of officers who were rubbing along well with residents and visitors.
Among the police volunteers helping out at this incredible event were independent custody visitors. Run by my office to provide scrutiny of police custody centres, this essential role involves assessing custody facilities and talking to detainees to ensure they are being treated appropriately. This scheme runs all the time but volunteers took on extra duties and specialist training as the force ramped up its custody capacity to cope with a huge influx of protestors that the summit attracted.
A special thanks must go to the Mayor of St Ives, Kirsty Arthur, who gave up a huge amount of time liaising between the force and residents of her community.
I was also able to visit Falmouth’s Municipal Buildings to meet some of our fantastic councillor advocates from around Cornwall – these community-minded members of the public work hard all year round to forge closer links between their constituents and the police, fostering understanding and ultimately helping to make Devon and Cornwall safer.
It was a weekend that will create a lengthy legacy for Cornwall by putting the Duchy on the international map. Biden, Merkel and all may have now departed but the weekend showed we are fortunate to have our own VIPs - ones who work tirelessly for their communities all year round.