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Specialist police units to protect world leaders from seaborne threats as G7 comes to Cornwall

Written by on 14 May 2021

Specialist marine policing units from around 10 forces in England will join Devon and Cornwall Police next month to protect world leaders from seaborne threats.

Officers – some armed – will patrol waters at Carbis Bay on the north Cornwall coast during the G7 summit from 11 to 13 June.

Sergeant Andrew Joyner from Devon and Cornwall Police Marine and Diving Unit said there is a range of specialist equipment to keep G7 leaders safe.

He said: “24 hours a day, there will be vessels on the water with a certain amount of officers with various skills.

“Some of the equipment means we’re able to stop vessels if we need to.

“We’re also able to protect a venue and keep people away from that as best we can.

“We’ll hopefully be able to pick up on any problem long before it gets anywhere near where someone could cause a problem – and we’ll be able to investigate and see if it’s suspicious or if it’s anything we should be concerned about and if so we’ll be able to react and deal with that.”

Sky News joined marine officers and divers from the force as they trained in Plymouth.

Sergeant Andrew Joyner from Devon and Cornwall Police Marine and Diving Unit Image: Sergeant Andrew Joyner is from Devon and Cornwall Police Marine and Diving Unit

Divers practised searching for suspicious items underwater and are already carrying out searches in and around Carbis Bay.

PC Clarke Orchard is in charge of Devon and Cornwall Police’s Project Kraken, an operation which targets marine crime and terrorist threats.

He told Sky News the local marine community in Cornwall will play a big part in ensuring the G7 is safe: “The public are our eyes and ears obviously – so any information they have to any suspicious activity in and around coastal areas and suspicious activity in and around maritime vessels – anything untoward, would be appreciated.

“Big concerns for us are any maritime vessels that are not normally in the location, if we’ve got any people directing people into vulnerable routes within the coast line that are not normally apparent within that area then that would be the information we are looking for.”

The G7 will be the largest policing operation undertaken by Devon and Cornwall Police and, of the 6,500 officers policing the summit, 5,000 will be from outside the force.

Devon and Cornwall Police is preparing to keep world leaders safe at the G7 Image: The summit will be the biggest policing operation undertaken by the force

To accommodate them, almost 200 venues and 4,000 rooms have been booked, with 16,500 meals being prepared for police officers every day.

The force said it will use drone, firearm and ANPR technology as part of its policing – but insisted it will continue to focus on a community-led approach to protecting the summit and locals.

“We don’t want to get in people’s way,” added Sergeant Joyner.

“Yes, there’s an incredibly important meeting going on with the leaders of the world, but people have still got to make a living so we’ll try to minimise that impact as best as we can.”