Police securing Donald Trump’s visit to the UK are being forced to sleep in unacceptable conditions worse than cells, the organisation representing rank-and-file officers has said. Pictures show cramped lines of camp beds filling a vast gymnasium and sleeping mats on the floor of a squash court for officers to rest on between long shifts policing the US President’s trip, starting on Thursday.
The Police Federation has complained of the conditions its members are facing during the operation, which will see officers from across the country enlisted at a cost of up to £10 million. Simon Kempton, the organisation’s deputy treasurer in England and Wales, said 300 officers are expected to sleep in the gymnasium with no hot water and restricted access to warm food.
“These officers have been asked to leave their families to travel to another part of the country to help protect the public and the president and all they expect in return is to be treated with some dignity and respect,” he said.
“What’s clear is that anyone overnight who has been arrested by the police would be put in accommodation far superior to what the officers are staying in.” He said officers at that site are only averaging three to four hours’ sleep ahead of 15-hour shifts because of the conditions.
John Apter, chairman of the Hampshire Police Federation, said: “There’s so much pressure on officers at the moment. Many are having rest days cancelled, working extended hours and this on top of it; do the bosses really care?
“It hits morale. It’s tough at the moment, really tough and they don’t deserve this – it’s not right and it’s not acceptable.” The controversial president’s visit has prompted one of the UK’s biggest ever police operations, with thousands of officers on duty.
During Mr Trump’s trip he will meet the Queen and Prime Minister Theresa May as he visits locations including Blenheim Palace, Chequers, Windsor Castle, the US ambassador’s official residence in Regent’s Park, London, and Scotland.