COP26: Covid fears for 'more than 100' police officers at climate summit

More than 100 police officers on duty at the COP26 climate change summit have been taken off frontline duties amid a Covid outbreak scare, it is claimed.

The Scotsman understands the officers are not from Police Scotland, but were drafted in from other forces across the UK to boost the numbers available to event commanders.

The Scottish force has cited “operational reasons” for refusing to divulge the number and status of those affected. However, multiple sources maintain that as many as 103 are affected.

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Welsh Police officers with colleagues from around the UK wait for protesters at the entrance of the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

It has been claimed the officers concerned were given PCR tests and instructed to self-isolate on Monday. The Scottish Police Federation (SPF) is aware of the situation, but sources within the officers’ ‘union’ insist none of its members are among those involved.

One SPF source said: “These are not our officers or members, but have travelled to Glasgow from elsewhere in the UK to bolster the numbers the chiefs can deploy on any given day throughout the fortnight of COP26.

"You have to be realistic and see it for what it is. A hundred of so people from a total of just over 10,000 are taking PCR tests or are waiting for test results. It’s a precautionary move. The numbers still add up to take on any scenario that arises during the summit.”

The policing operation at COP26, codenamed Operation Urram, Gaelic for respect, is the largest ever staged in Scotland and one of the biggest in the history of UK policing, with 10,000 officers deployed on summit duties each day.

Of that number, 7,000 have been brought in from outside forces.

About 45 per cent of the officers have been drawn from the ranks of Police Scotland, with the rest coming from other forces, British Transport Police, the Ministry of Defence and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary.

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While Police Scotland would not confirm the number off officers caught up in the Covid scare, well-placed sources maintain that senior commanders are “fully confident” they have the necessary numbers to cope with any situation.

In a statement, the force said: “We have a Covid management plan in place. However, for operational reasons [we] will not be releasing numbers of those isolating (either awaiting a result, or having had a positive result).”

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