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Last Updated: Friday, 4 March, 2005, 11:13 GMT
Officer defends G8 security plans
G8 protesters in Genoa
Mr Vine warned against linking Gleneagles with the Genoa violence
The police officer in charge of security at the G8 summit in Gleneagles has rejected claims that the operation could goad protesters into violence.

Nationalist MSP Roseanna Cunningham said the level of planned security was sending out the wrong message.

Tayside Police Chief Constable John Vine stressed that he has no objection to peaceful protest.

However, Mr Vine said media speculation about potential trouble was causing confusion about the July event.

He voiced concern about the focus on unrest at G8 summits, particularly images of the trouble at the summit in Genoa. But he pointed out that this took place over four years ago.

Speaking on BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr Vine said: "We've worked closely with Perth and Kinross Council and the local community to try and keep them informed about developments.

We have to make contingencies for worst case scenarios
John Vine
Tayside Chief Constable

"We've always said we'll police this event to the level that the circumstances present in July.

"But the focus will be on community policing and policing as we know it within the tradition of the Scottish system."

Perth MSP Ms Cunningham said she was concerned that police security arrangements were in danger of sparking clashes.

Up to 10,000 police officers could be deployed during the Gleneagles event.

Ms Cunningham said: "We need to uphold Scotland's tradition of peaceful protest and there is actually a real danger that all the talk of armed police, surface-to-air missiles and holding compounds will make the fears of violence, understandable after Genoa and Seattle, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

"Some of it looks suspiciously like the police effectively saying: 'Come on if you think you're hard enough'."

Scottish Socialist Party leader, Colin Fox, warned that over-zealous police preparations were helping to create an atmosphere of "fortress Gleneagles".

"As the G8 fails to deliver on promises to eradicate poverty and instead drives ahead with a naked imperialist agenda - especially in the third world and the middle east - they are behind them creating a huge worldwide movement of opposition," he said.

Mr Vine said it has to be accepted that the police must be prepared to cope with any eventuality.

Security plan fury

He said: "We have to make contingencies for worst case scenarios. That's not to say that I expect these worst case scenarios to play out.

"But clearly people would expect me to be making contingency plans for a wide variety of circumstances to play out in July."

Mr Vine added: "But the basis for our policing in this part of the world has always been community-based policing.

"If Ms Cunningham wants to come to any of our meetings, where she will hear us say that repeatedly, then she would be welcome."

Public Service Minister Tom McCabe said ministers were committed to letting protesters have their say as long as it was within legal limits.

"Let me put on record immediately the executive's commitment to facilitating peaceful and legitimate campaigning in line with the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights," he said.

"Protesters have responsibilities as well as rights. They must show proper respect to the residents of the areas in which they plan to protest."

Prime Minister Tony Blair will be joined by the leaders of the other G8 nations for the summit which is due to take place at the Perthshire resort in the first week of July.




SEE ALSO:
Ministers promise G8 demo rights
03 Mar 05 |  Scotland
G8 call for relaxed police policy
23 Feb 05 |  Scotland
G8 'could call' on 10,000 police
21 Feb 05 |  Scotland
Plan to cash in on G8 protesters
14 Feb 05 |  Scotland


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