By Lucy Ashton
Waterways are being searched by specialist officers from Police Scotland’s Dive and Marine Unit in the lead up to COP26.
Highly skilled police divers, who can search in confined spaces as well as capture underwater footage, will be patrolling the River Clyde and its banks ahead of the event in November.
During COP26, the Ministry of Defence Police will monitor the body of water, which is approximately four miles, with assistance when required from Police Scotland divers.
The dive and marine unit specialise in security searches, missing person searches and the recovery of evidence. Their high-speed patrol boats can respond quickly to incidents or threats on the waters in and around Scotland.
Police divers are serving police officers who have come from a variety of policing backgrounds and bring a broad depth of knowledge and experience.
All police divers complete an eight week basic air dive course along with a number of other specialist courses such as Licensed Search Officer, Swift Water Rescue Technician and Confined Space Search Officer, which is a crucial capability for Police Scotland in the lead up to COP26.
The river will be subject to movement and mooring restrictions for approximately three weeks.
Police Scotland’s Dive and Marine unit is just one of the specialist resources that will be deployed during COP26 to ensure the safety of all involved including World Leaders and Heads of State, delegates, and the wider public within Scotland.
Superintendent Stevie Irvine, Police Scotland Maritime Security lead for COP26, said: “Our specially trained divers will patrol and search the River Clyde, particularly restricted areas, in the run up to COP26.
“This is a historic event, with one of the biggest mobilisation of police assets the UK has ever seen, and that means some restrictions are needed to help keep participants, visitors and members of the public safe.
“Any protest activity in or around the waterways during COP26 will be met with a proportionate policing response which balances the needs and rights of those wishing to take part, against the safety and wellbeing of protesters.
“This is all part of our work to support the delivery of a safe and secure event and we would ask that if you spot anything unusual in or around the waterways – report it to the police.
“Trust your instincts if you see something that doesn’t seem right.”
Superintendent Sandy Stewart, Ministry of Defence Police, said: “Our marine unit officers will be supporting the Police Scotland operation for COP26, providing a 24/7, armed policing presence on the River Clyde and ensuring compliance with the legal restrictions put in place, to deliver a safe and secure event for all involved.”