Scotland

Trump trip could cost Police Scotland £5m

Donald Trump Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Trump has previously visited his golf courses at Turnberry in Ayrshire and the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire

A possible one-day visit by US President Donald Trump to Scotland in July could cost Police Scotland £5m.

Mr Trump is scheduled to have talks with Prime Minister Theresa May at Downing Street on 13 July.

It has been suggested the president may then visit at least one of his golf courses in Ayrshire and Aberdeenshire.

The prime minister's office has indicated that the UK government may consider providing financial assistance to cover policing costs.

Interim Chief Constable Iain Livingstone has told the Scottish Police Authority that the visit would require at least 5,000 officers.

He said that contingency planning was under way, with rest days cancelled and shifts changed for many officers.

Protests against the controversial US president have already been organised for Glasgow and Edinburgh to coincide with the visit.

Protected person

Mr Livingstone told members of the authority: "I do have to stress that we do not have final confirmation that the president of the United States will actually include any specific engagements in Scotland, however we do have to prepare for such an eventuality and I consider it's my duty in my current role to ensure that we prepare contingencies."

He said that, even without a confirmed visit or itinerary, the force would need to consider "a wide variety of policing factors".

These included "the deployment-appropriate security measures that would be required for the president of the United States as a protected person".

Mr Livingstone said it was Police Scotland's duty to "ensure and enable" any public demonstrations and protests "should people wish to do so".

He added: "We estimate at this time - and very much dependent on the specific nature of the potential visit - that we will have to utilise over 5,000 conventional officers, along with public order officers, specialised search and firearms resources."

Government funding

Mr Livingstone said he had concerns about how the additional spend would be financed.

He explained that even if the Scottish part of the UK visit does not go ahead "there is still potential for a number of events in Scotland to have implications for us given his ties to Scotland and some of his legacy business interests".

The Scottish Police Federation has called on the UK government to release funds to cover the cost of the visit.

General secretary Calum Steele said: "It is simply iniquitous to expect (Police Scotland) to pick up the costs for this at the same time as additional central government funding is being made available to cover the exceptional costs the police forces in England and Wales will incur for their part in policing the visit.

"The argument that policing in Scotland is devolved and must therefore meet its own costs is disingenuous.

"President Trump is not visiting to meet the Prime Minister of England. His visit is in an official capacity to the United Kingdom."

Downing Street said it regularly considers requests for additional financial support from police forces for major events.

A spokeswoman for the prime minister said details of any visit by President Trump had not been confirmed and would not comment on the specific concerns raised by Scottish police.

But she added: "More generally, for major events, we work very closely with the police and we consider requests for support including financial support on a case-by-case basis."