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Officers from Norfolk policing Donald Trump visit moved from “unacceptable” accommodation in gym

PUBLISHED: 17:19 12 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:01 13 July 2018

Camp beds in the gym where police officers had to sleep ahead of Donald Trump's arrival in the UK. Picture: Police Federation

Camp beds in the gym where police officers had to sleep ahead of Donald Trump's arrival in the UK. Picture: Police Federation

Archant

Officers from Norfolk tasked with policing the arrival of Donald Trump to the UK have been moved from “unacceptable” accommodation on camp beds in an Essex gymnasium.

Around 120 officers from Norfolk and Suffolk have responded to the mutual aid request to help police the three day presidential visit and the protests planned around the capital.

And some were among between 200 and 300 officers housed at a barracks in Colchester last night which the Police Federation described as “extremely poor”.

Andy Symonds, chair of the Norfolk Police Federation, said the officers themselves had not complained, but concerns were raised by the welfare officer.

“The guys from the armed forces have been keeping them fed and watered, and they even put on a big screen TV last night for the England game once they had finished their tour of duty,” he said. “This is no reflection on the armed forces - it is a health and safety concern around officers only getting one or two hours sleep on a hot night before heading out on a 15 hour tour.”

Andy Symonds, chairman of Norfolk Police Federation. Picture Andy SymondsAndy Symonds, chairman of Norfolk Police Federation. Picture Andy Symonds

He said the male officers in the gym had no power source or hot water and few toilet facilities, and had to rise around 3am for today’s operation.

“It has been a bit of a nightmare for them,” he said.

“Our frustrations are with the planning of this because a lot of these officers are on cancelled rest days, but they have known about this since June 20. They have had weeks to plan.”

After a month which included World Cup matches, the Lord Mayor’s Celebration and Walsingham Pilgrimage, Norfolk Police were “stretched far too thin”.

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump step off Air Force One as they arrive at London's Stansted Airport, Thursday, July 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump step off Air Force One as they arrive at London's Stansted Airport, Thursday, July 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

“It has been a really challenging time and obviously when we send officers away they are infilling those roles back home,” he said. We have detectives down there and we are stretched far too thin.

“These mutual aid requests are coming in far more frequently, and that is because forces simply can’t handle the policing of these events.

“It takes its toll on the officers. When they come back they are not taking a deep breath and trying to recoup. They will be going back in and heading from job to job.

“It is getting to the point whereby I fear for their wellbeing with regards what is expected of them. You can’t keep asking to give more with less, and officers are running on empty. It is going to be a long, hard summer.”

All the officers will be moved to another barracks or into hotel rooms for their second night after concerns were raised about the state of the accommodation this morning.

National newspapers have reported that as many as 10,000 police officers will be part of plans - named Operation Manifold - to protect the president and deal with predicted protests.

President Trump flew into the UK today for a three day visit, with a visit to the US Ambassador in Regent’s Park.

Tomorrow, he is due to hold talks with prime minister Theresa May at Chequers, before meeting the Queen at Windsor Castle.

On the final day of his visit, he is likely to head for the golf course - Turnberry - which he owns in Scotland, before he jets back to the United States.

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